EU poised to announce wide-ranging sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, the commanders-in-chief of the Russian air force and Black Sea fleet, leading state “propagandists” and 351 Duma deputies are expected to be targeted in EU sanctions announced on Wednesday.

The measures, which have to be signed off by EU foreign ministers, would go further than those announced by the US and a significant distance beyond Boris Johnson’s Russia sanctions.

If approved, the EU will impose asset freezes and travel bans on 23 people, three banks and a notorious internet “troll factory” in St Petersburg, in response to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognise the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states. The bloc is also expected to sanction 351 members of the Russian state Duma that voted for recognition of the two territories.

The Russian government will also be further restricted in its ability to raise money on EU financial markets. EU officials are drawing up measures to ban trade between the two Russian-controlled territories in eastern Ukraine, mirroring earlier sanctions on Crimea in 2014.

“Everyone seems onboard for the adoption of sanctions,” an EU diplomat said. EU capitals have a few hours to send comments, with ministers expected to approve the sanctions at 3pm CET.

At the top of the sanctions list is Shoigu, because he is “ultimately responsible for any military action against Ukraine”, states the draft list seen by the Guardian. He is joined by Anton Vaino, Putin’s chief of staff, who “plays an active role in decision making”, as well as Igor Osipov, the commander-in-chief of the Black Sea fleet, and Sergei Surovikin, commander-in-chief of Russian aerospace forces.

Other top officials include the deputy prime minister and chair of state-owned VTB bank, Dmitry Grigorenko, and Igor Shuvalov, the chair of Russia’s state development bank, VEB, which plays an important role in funding its defence sector.

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The EU is also targeting…

Read full story at the guardian.com

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