UK & World News

  • 29 July 2014, 17:06

EU Sanctions Target Russian Oil Industry

European governments have agreed new sanctions against Russia, targeting its oil and defence industries, in response to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow's sensitive technologies and dual-use goods are also being targeted as part of the fresh action which will be reviewed after three months, a diplomat said.

The capitals of all 28 nations will now look at and rubber-stamp what has been agreed.

The move is seen as an extension of existing US and EU sanctions and will focus on 11 individuals and other "entities" - the so-called 'cronies' of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But even in advance of any deal, the oil giant BP warned that tougher sanctions could have an adverse impact on its business.

Sky's Europe Correspondent Robert Nisbet said eight of the people to be added to the list by the EU were expected to be much closer to the inner-circle of Mr Putin to "hit right at the centre of the Russian government".

Moments after the announcement, US Secretary John Kerry said the US "was in the process of preparing additional sanctions" on "key sections of the Russian economy".

He said Mr Putin still "had a choice going forward, with respect to his ability to be able to have an impact on the separatists".

But Mr Kerry said there was "no shred of evidence" Russia was willing to help end the violence and bloodshed between Moscow-backed rebels and Kiev.

He said even since flight MH17 was shot down, there was "clear evidence" that "the Russians and their so-called volunteers are continuing to ship arms and funds and personnel across the border".

"We now have clear evidence of artillery and rocket fire from Russia into Ukraine," he said.

"And while the Russians say they want to de-escalate the conflict, their actions have not shown a shred of evidence that they really have a legitimate desire to end the violence and end the bloodshed."

His comments came as pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said they were considering banning OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) investigators from the plane crash site, accusing them of "serving the interests of the United States and Ukraine".

Around 23 people, including three children, were killed as the fighting between rebels and Ukrainian forces in the region continued on Tuesday with shelling hitting a school, a home and several apartment blocks in the cities of Horlivka, Luhansk and Donestsk.

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