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Russia under threat of tougher EU sanctions

Published on Jul 17, 2014 3:56 AM

BRUSSELS (AFP) - The European Union moved to tighten sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine on Wednesday, while stopping short of tough economic measures advocated by Washington.

"We will talk about new sanctions because we think that the Russian contribution for peace in Ukraine is not sufficient," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on arriving for an EU summit to discuss events in Ukraine as well as filling top EU posts. "The hostages have not been released, control of the borders has not yet been reached and the contact group doesn't work," she added.

According to a draft summit statement seen by AFP, new steps could include freezing programmes in Russia run by the EU's European Investment Bank as well as a request that the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development halt its own work in the country.

If adopted, the EU leaders would also significantly widen sanctions by targeting Russian firms "that are materially or financially supporting actions undermining or threatening Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence". This could broaden the scope to Russian companies more closely connected to the Kremlin than any of the EU sanctions taken so far, a move that many member states with strong economic ties to Russia have resisted.

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