EU agrees to freeze Putin, Lavrov assets over Ukraine

The measures were added Friday after being raised in overnight discussions by EU leaders on a new sanctions package

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The EU has agreed to freeze European assets linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov over their decision to invade Ukraine, EU officials told AFP on Friday.

The measures were added Friday after being raised in overnight discussions by EU leaders on a new sanctions package that EU foreign ministers from the 27-nation bloc were to validate.

Germany and Italy were hesitant to apply the measure, but most EU countries were in favour of it, two officials said on condition of anonymity.

The asset freeze on Putin and Lavrov was first reported by the Financial Times based on three sources who said neither of the Russians would be subject to an EU travel ban in order to keep diplomatic channels open.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday the new EU sanctions package targeted “the highest officials” in Russia.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said as he arrived for the EU meeting in Brussels with his counterparts that, given Russia’s undeterred military action on Ukraine, further sanctions were likely.

“This (latest packet of sanctions) isn’t enough. We need to choke the (Russian) system and in particular further target the oligarchs,” he said.

© Agence France-Presse

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