EU Edges to Economic Sanctions on Russia but Narrows Scope

EU Edges to Economic Sanctions on Russia but Narrows Scope

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union reached outline agreement on Friday to impose the first economic sanctions on Russia over its behaviour in Ukraine but scaled back their scope to exclude technology for the crucial gas sector.

The EU also imposed travel bans and asset freezes on the chiefs of Russia’s FSB security service and foreign intelligence service and a number of other top Russian officials, saying they had helped shape Russian government policy that threatened Ukraine’s sovereignty and national integrity.

FSB director Alexander Bortnikov and Mikhail Fradkov, a former prime minister who now heads the foreign intelligence service, were among 15 Russians or Ukrainians and 18 companies and other organizations named in the EU’s latest sanctions list.

Also sanctioned were the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who the EU said had made statements supporting Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and the insurgency in eastern Ukraine, and several Ukrainian separatist leaders.

After months of hesitation, the EU is set to go beyond asset freezes by imposing sanctions on sectors of the Russian economy.

The 28-nation EU toughened its stance towards Moscow following last week’s downing of a Malaysian airliner, killing 298 people, in an area of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists.

EU ambassadors reached a preliminary agreement on Friday.

Read more at Reuters