The EU has reached an agreement on the first broad economic sanctions on Russia over its role in Ukraine, diplomats said, marking a new phase in the biggest confrontation with Moscow since the Cold War.
The measures agreed on Tuesday would shut state-owned Russian banks out of European markets and target the defence sector and sensitive technologies, including oil, but exclude the vital natural gas sector, on which Europe is heavily dependent.
The EU’s president, Herman Van Rompuy, said the sanctions were intended to be “a strong warning” but could be reversed if Moscow changed course in Ukraine.
The new sanctions were expected to be finalised on Wednesday, according to diplomats meeting in Belgium.
The US secretary of state, John Kerry, also announced on Tuesday that the US was also drawing up fresh sanctions against Russia.