UK & World News

  • 4 September 2014, 20:03

EU Expected To Announce New Russia Sanctions

The European Union is expected to announce more sanctions against Russia on Friday, British government sources have said.

Measures will include sanctions targeting state-owned Russian defence and energy companies, and extending controls on the sale of military equipment to cover dual-use civilian military kit.

Existing measures against state-owned banks will be strengthened.

The US is also expected to unveil similar measures against Moscow.

It follows talks between British Prime Minister David Cameron, US President Barack Obama and other senior Nato leaders with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at a two-day Nato summit in Newport, Wales.

One source said they were designed to force Russian President Vladimir Putin "to the negotiating table and off the battlefield" in eastern Ukraine.

Nato leaders want Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory, even though Russia denies it has any soldiers on the ground.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov accused Washington of undermining peace efforts, saying the US supported a political party in Kiev that was in favour of war.

Mr Lavrov said: "A spike in anti-Russian rhetoric... just as we are seeing the most active efforts to reach a political settlement, speaks only of the fact that a pro-war party in Kiev enjoys active support from outside, from the United States in this case."

News of the sanctions came amid reports of fresh fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces in Ukraine.

Ukraine reinforced its defences at the port of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov amid reports rebels were advancing towards the city with tanks and artillery.

Further north, in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, renewed shelling killed at least one woman and ripped holes through several homes.

Earlier, the Russian news agency Interfax had reported that rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine proposed a ceasefire with Kiev that echoed a plan outlined earlier by Mr Putin.

But, they said, they wanted "guarantees" that the ceasefire would be upheld.

Talks are due to talk place in Belarus on Friday to discuss an end to the fighting in Ukraine, which is taking place close to the Russian border.

Mr Poroshenko indicated he could support a peace deal, despite previously accusing Russia of offering peace as a ruse.

As the Nato summit got under way, there were frantic efforts by the French and German foreign secretaries to bring all the parties to the table.

France yesterday said that it was putting on hold its plans to send Mistral-class helicopter carriers it was building to Russia.

The mooted ceasefire has become a growing possibility after a series of victories by pro-Moscow separatists which Nato says were achieved with the open support of thousands of Russian troops.

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