Ukraine’s western-backed government said Wednesday that it was preparing to slap sanctions on Russia for backing pro-Moscow separatists in the ex-Soviet state.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said a special committee had been set up to draw up a raft of economic sanctions against any Russian individuals, officials or companies accused of supporting rebels battling government troops in the east of the country.
“Ukraine will introduce sanctions against every individual with a Russian passport who supports the terrorists and separatists in Ukraine,” Yatsenyuk said.
The sanctions would also target those who helped push through the Kremlin’s annexation of Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in March, he said.
Ukraine’s threat of punitive economic measures against its largest trading partner comes with its economy teetering perilously on the brink after Moscow cut off gas supplies in June over a bitter price dispute.
The European Union — which signed a historic trade and political pact with Kiev last month — looks set to follow Washington’s lead by announcing a new round of tougher sanctions against Moscow on Thursday, following international outrage over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in rebel-held territory.