In formulating its proposals for economic and trade sanctions against Russia over its occupation of the Crimea, the European Union is basing itself on the Israel-Palestine model, EurActiv reported yesterday.

According to EU diplomats interviewed by EurActiv, Crimea is “occupied territory” comparable to the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.

The same kind of trade restrictions that are currently in place for the occupied Palestinian territories will apply to Russia, the diplomats said.

Under the EU-Israel Association Agreement, products originating in Israeli settlements in the West-Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights are not entitled to benefit from preferential tariff treatment.

The measures are intended to deliver the message that the EU does not regard Crimea’s new status as part of the Russian Federation as a “fait accompli”.

Proposals are currently being formulated by the European Commission and are expected to be placed before the member states soon, possibly as early as next week.

At their meeting on Wednesday, EU ministers said they were looking forward to the Commission's evaluation of the legal consequences of the annexation of Crimea by Russia, and to the related proposals for economic, trade and financial restrictions regarding the peninsula.

The Russian authorities have already decided that Crimea will be given a tax break for at least six years, and that big investors will be provided with many incentives.