EU reaches preliminary agreement on more Russia sanctions

EU reaches preliminary agreement on more Russia sanctions

PanARMENIAN.Net - European Union ambassadors reached a preliminary agreement on Friday, July 25, to push ahead with hard-hitting economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis but details remained to be worked out, diplomats said, according to Reuters.

After a discussion that lasted all day Thursday and part of Friday, ambassadors asked the EU's executive Commission to draw up a legal text setting out economic sanctions that the EU would impose for possible agreement next week.

Key measures suggested by the Commission included closing EU capital markets to state-owned Russian banks, an embargo on arms sales to Moscow and restrictions on the supply of energy and dual-use technologies. They would not affect current supplies of oil, gas and other commodities from Russia, diplomats said.

One EU official said there was "an overall preliminary agreement on the concept" but ambassadors would hold more discussions next week on the basis of the legal text.

Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said there was still work to be done.

"The direction of travel here is very clear but we are still travelling," she told reporters.

It was not immediately clear if the legal text would include all the options identified by the Commission, according to Reuters. But EU officials said it would cover all four areas where sanctions have been proposed - restrictions on Russian access to European financial markets, defense and energy technology and equipment useful for both defense or civilian purposes.

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