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EU Due To Adopt Fresh Russia Sanctions

  • RFE/RL

The European Union is expected to formally adopt a fourth wave of sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine on September 8.

The new measures were agreed by EU leaders late on September 5 on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Wales.

The decision came hours after Kyiv and pro-Russia rebels agreed a cease-fire in a bid to end a five-month conflict that has killed an estimated 2,600 people in eastern Ukraine.

However, the EU said the fresh sanctions could be suspended if Moscow honored the cease-fire conditions and pulled out its troops.

Russia's Foreign Ministry responded angrily, pledging an unspecified "reaction" if the new sanctions were implemented.

Moscow responded to a previous round of U.S. and EU sanctions by banning most Western food imports.

Moscow denies dispatching forces or arming the rebels, despite what NATO says is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Diplomats say the fresh sanctions include an expanded list of officials under an EU travel ban and asset freeze, plus credit restrictions to Russian companies as well as an export ban on dual-use goods.

According to EU diplomats, Russia's Gazprom Bank and Gazprom Neft would fall under the ban on raising capital in the EU.

Despite the truce, fresh fire was reported near the coastal city of Mariupol and near the airport in Donetsk early on September 7.

The shelling in Mariupol claimed the first civilian casualty since the cease-fire began.

At least four people were reported wounded in the fresh violence.

Meanwhile, a senior aide to Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said five NATO states had agreed to send weapons and advisers to Ukraine.

However, four of the countries mentioned -- the United States, Italy, Norway, and Poland -- denied making such pledges.

NATO officials have said the alliance will not send arms to nonmember Ukraine, but they have also said individual allies may do so if they wish.

Russia is fiercely opposed to closer ties between Ukraine and the NATO alliance.

The Ukraine conflict has revived talk of a new Cold War as the West accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of deliberately destabilizing the former Soviet republic of 46 million people.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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