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EU adds to Russia sanctions list, prepares new measures

The EU has extended sanctions imposed on Russian individuals, organizations and businesses over the conflict in Ukraine. EU foreign ministers have also agreed on proposals to impose tougher sanctions on Russia.

A document published in the European Union's Official Journal late on Friday listed 15 new individuals and 18 organizations or businesses to be added to the bloc's already existing sanctions list.

Among the new individuals added to the list were Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Federal Security Service (FSB); Sergei Beseda, the head of the FSB's department responsible for international operations and intelligence; and the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Mikhail Fradkov.

The organizations added to the list on Friday included a number of separatist rebel groups operating in eastern Ukraine.

The new measures took effect immediately after they were published in the Official Journal, which is the EU's gazette of record.

This brought the total number of individuals on the list to 87, along with 20 organizations or businesses.

Proposed tougher economic measures

Earlier on Friday, EU ambassadors agreed on proposals to impose tougher penalties on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

Among other things, the new sanctions would close EU capital markets to Russia's state-owned banks, and impose an embargo on arms sales and restrictions on the export to Russia of dual-use and energy technologies. European Council President Herman van Rompuy said the sanctions would only apply to future contracts, meaning that France would be free to proceed with the controversial delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia.

Van Rompuy also wrote to the leaders of the EU's 28 member states to ask them to authorize their ambassadors to give final approval to the agreement at a meeting on Tuesday, thus avoiding the need for the heads of state and government to travel to Brussels for a special summit.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso also endorsed the draft legal text agreed on Friday.

"The final decision now lies with the EU's member states, but I believe that this is an effective, well-targeted and balanced package providing the flexibility to adjust our reaction to changes on the ground," Barroso said in a statement released by his office. "I hope that member states will agree on this package of restrictive measures next week."

Until now at least, the EU has been more reluctant than the US to adopt tough economic sanctions against Russia. However, the alleged shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which crashed in eastern Ukraine last week, killing all 298 people on board, appears to have changed attitudes in the bloc. Of the victims, 193 were Dutch nationals.

pfd/mkg (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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