Fresh EU sanctions against Russia `very possible`: Source
A new round of EU sanctions against Russia and pro-Moscow separatists in Ukraine was "looking very possible", a diplomatic source said Tuesday on the eve of an EU summit where leaders would make the final decision.
Brussels: A new round of EU sanctions against Russia and pro-Moscow separatists in Ukraine was "looking very possible", a diplomatic source said Tuesday on the eve of an EU summit where leaders would make the final decision.
According to the source, member states were preparing a variety of new measures, including freezing programmes in Russia run by the EU`s European Investment Bank and the London-based European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.
There was also talk "of adding new names to the list of targeted sanctions," the source said.
The EU has so far imposed visa bans and asset freezes on more than 60 Russia and Ukraine figures for their role in stoking the Ukraine crisis but have so far baulked at outright sanctions on economic sectors, known in Brussels as phase 3 sanctions.
"This is neither phase 2 or phase 3 but something different," the source said, adding that the decision to consider new sanctions was "not because of US pressure".
The summit on Wednesday is primarily tasked with filling key EU jobs, most notably to name a foreign policy chief to replace Catherine Ashton.
But the 28 EU leaders will also review developments in Ukraine as Washington presses for tougher sanctions against Russia.
The EU is divided over how far to go given some member states, such as Italy and Germany, have major economic ties with Moscow.
Another EU diplomatic source confirmed that an option of new sanctions would be put to EU leaders on Wednesday, including the idea to suspend EIB investment.
"Some of the entities and persons that will be added (to the proposed sanctions) are already on the US sanctions list," the second source added.
Germany and France have been spearheading EU efforts to revive a Ukrainian truce in the hope more sanctions against Russia, on which much of the EU depends for energy, could be avoided.
The United States has pressed EU leaders to impose arms sale restrictions and broader financial sanctions when they meet at the summit in Brussels.