The European Union reached outline agreement on Friday to impose the first economic sanctions on Russia over its behavior in Ukraine but scaled back their scope to exclude technology for the crucial gas sector.

The sanctions on access to capital markets, arms and hi-tech goods are also likely to apply only to future contracts, leaving France free to go ahead with the controversial delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers being built for Russia.

After months of hesitation, the 28-nation EU toughened its stance toward Moscow after last week’s downing of a Malaysian airliner, killing 298 people, in an area of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists.

But the narrowing of the proposed measures highlighted the difficulty of agreeing to tough sanctions among countries which have widely different economic interests and rely to varying degrees on Russian gas.

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