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EU agrees on new sanctions against Russia days before the second anniversary of the war in Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers prepare a self-propelled artillery vehicle Gvozdika to fire towards the Russian positions on the frontline in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. (Roman Chop via AP) Ukrainian soldiers prepare a self-propelled artillery vehicle Gvozdika to fire towards the Russian positions on the frontline in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. (Roman Chop via AP)
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European Union countries on Wednesday agreed on a new package of sanctions against Russia to target individuals and businesses suspected of assisting Moscow in its war against Ukraine, including Chinese companies.

The decision coincides with the second anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion, which began on Feb. 24, 2022, and comes days after the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Belgium, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the 27-nation bloc, said the “package is one of the broadest approved by the EU.”

According to several diplomats, EU ambassadors from all member countries agreed to impose sanctions on about 200 companies and individuals. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to disclose details about the sanctions, which have yet to be formally adopted.

They said several Chinese companies, which are believed to have provided help to Russia, have been sanctioned. Details of the entities targeted will be revealed when the sanctions are published in the EU’s legal journal.

The EU has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia since President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine. The measures have targeted the energy sector, banks, the world’s biggest diamond mining company, businesses and markets, and made Russian officials subject to asset freezes and travel bans.

The new sanctions will further enhance trade restrictions against entities linked to the Russian military-industrial complex, diplomats said. Additional bans on exports to Russia of highly technical components for drone production were adopted.

“I welcome the agreement on our 13th sanctions package against Russia,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. “We must keep degrading Putin’s war machine. With 2,000 listings in total, we keep the pressure high on the Kremlin. We are also further cutting Russia’s access to drones.”

Belgium said the package will undergo a written procedure and be formally approved on Saturday, which marks the second anniversary of the war.

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