US finalises new Russia sanctions plan as EU hesitates

 
Kate McCann
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Sanctions are being firmed up despite a ceasefire agreed between Vladimir Putin and Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko (Source: Getty)
The US is putting the finishing touches to a new tranche of sanctions aimed at Russia, including powers to curb the nation’s defence, energy and financial sectors, it announced yesterday.

The US government is seeking both to “deepen and broaden” existing sanctions against President Vladimir Putin’s government, following continued unrest in eastern Ukraine.

State department spokesperson Marie Harf said yesterday: “We have tools at the ready. We are finalising these packages, but we are going to make decisions based on what's happening on the ground in the next few days.”

The strengthening of measures against Russia comes as European leaders continued to delay new sanctions yesterday, citing the need to see if a ceasefire, agreed between the Ukrainian government in Kiev and Russia, would hold.

A spokesman for the European Commission said leaders from the 28 member states would discuss whether to implement the new sanctions today.

On Monday, leaders agreed tougher restrictions on Russian-owned oil and bank financing, more individuals banned from the EU and who will have their assets frozen, alongside restrictions on the sale of military and civilian use goods.

Yesterday, a report into the MH17 air disaster over Ukraine concluded that the plane was destroyed when a number of high energy objects destroyed the cockpit mid-flight.

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