The European Union agreed Tuesday to impose new sanctions against officials deemed responsible for Russia’s actions in Ukraine, amid mounting international anger after a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over rebel-held territory.
European foreign ministers stopped short, at least for now, of more forceful sanctions that would hit full sectors of the Russian economy.
The decision came soon after bodies of those killed in the crash reached Ukrainian government-controlled territory, leaving a war zone en route to the Netherlands after delays and haphazard treatment that put pressure on the Europeans to inflict tougher pressure on Russia.
The crash last week in eastern Ukraine has heightened diplomatic tensions over the conflict in Ukraine and focused anger at Russia, from Washington to EU headquarters in Brussels to Malaysia. But Russian President Vladimir Putin remained combative Tuesday, lashing out at Ukraine’s military Tuesday for trying to dislodge the rebels.
The EU agreed to impose visa bans and asset freezes on more Russian officials, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said. He did not say how many officials were targeted or reveal their names.
He said the ministers also asked the 28-nation bloc’s executive arm to prepare for more sweeping sanctions — including targeting the arms, energy and financial sectors — if Russia fails to back down from destabilizing Ukraine.