Due to the worsening situation in Ukraine, especially in Mariupol, the High Representative Vice-President Mogherini convened an extraordinary EU Foreign Affairs Council ("FAC") meeting on January 29 in Brussels. The main three elements agreed upon and further stipulated in the outcome of the extraordinary Council Meeting in relation to the escalation of violence in Ukraine can be summarised as follows:
- Extension of the restrictive measures targeting persons and entities for threatening or undermining Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, adopted in March 2014 until September 2015;
- High Representative and the European Commission are to present within a week a proposal on additional listings at the coming FAC meeting; and
- Further preparatory work is to be undertaken by the European Commission and the European External Action Service ("EEAS") on any appropriate action, aiming at ensuring a swift and comprehensive implementation of the Minsk agreements.
During the Q&A session of the official press conference, the High Representative Vice-President Mogherini emphasised that the decision taken by FAC to prolong the existing restrictive measures in place can be regarded as an additional measure in "terms of timing". This means that, at this stage, the current restrictive measures are being merely reinforced and not broadened or limited as such.
The proposal on additional listings will be discussed on February 9 where it can be expected that decision will be taken to add certain individuals and/or entities to the current sanctioned list of persons, entities or bodies responsible for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
Considering the demonstrated consensus among the EU Member States during the FCA meeting on January 29 and envisaged preparatory work to be undertaken, it is not excluded that the EU may even take further restrictive measures "if the situation on the ground does not improve or gets worse" in Ukraine.