European Western Balkans

Serbia aligns with EU sanctions over Ukraine for the first time

European External Action Service EEAS; Photo: EEAS

BRUSSELS – For the first time, Serbia has joined the EU’s restrictive measures regarding the situation in Ukraine since the outbreak of the crisis in 2014. Serbia has aligned itself with the Decision of the Council of the EU which extends the restrictive measures against former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, who is believed to be a Russian citizen and leading members of the Ukrainian government from the period 2010-2014.

This is stated in a Declaration of the High Representative of the European Union published on the website of the EU Council from 12 March. As it was unofficially confirmed to our portal from the European External Action Service, Serbia has aligned itself with this Decision together with Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

According to the Declaration, these countries will ensure that their national policies would be in line with the Council Decision.

Sanctions for Yanukovych and others were first introduced in March 2014 by a decision of the Council and then extended every year. The reason for the introduction of sanctions is “misuse of state resources and violation of human rights”, during the Ukrainian crisis 2013 -2014, which led to the annexation of Crimea and the declaration of independence of Donetsk and Lugansk.

On 3 March 2022, the EU Council extended the validity of these sanctions for one year, until 6 March 2023.

“This is the first time that Serbia had aligned with EU sanctions over Ukraine”, confirmed for EWB Igor Novaković, Research Director of the ISAC Fund.

According to the ISAC Fund, since 2014 the EU has defined a unified approach and started applying restrictive measures towards the Russian Federation, i.e towards related parties and entities that are marked as responsible for the events in Ukraine.

Based on the Decision adopted by the Council in 2014, with which Serbia has now aligned itself, all funds and economic resources belonging to the persons listed in the decision are being frozen.

Viktor Yanukovych was the president of Ukraine from 2010 to 2014, when he was overthrown in a coup, after which he fled to Russia.

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