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European Union to intensify sanctions on Russia

15 names will be added to the existing list of Russian individuals on whom sanctions have already been imposed

IANS  |  London 

Seeking to broaden sanctions on Russia, European Union (EU) leaders will meet to decide on adding more names to a list of proscribed Russian individuals alleged to have links to separatist actions in Ukraine, a media report said Monday.

According to official reports, 15 names will be added to the existing list of Russian individuals on whom sanctions have already been imposed, BBC reported.

Along with the EU, the US and the Group of Seven or G7 (US, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan) industrialised countries have also planned to take further steps against Russia in their meeting in Brussels.

The EU and the US have already frozen assets of Russian individuals accused of involvement in the annexation of Crimea and issued travel bans on them.

The US has said that it would Monday add names of people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and firms to the sanctions list and will also impose new restrictions on high tech exports.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steven Warren had last week disclosed that Russian aircraft had entered Ukrainian airspace several times and asked Moscow to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation.

Eight foreign observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), taken hostage Friday, were led to the Sloviansk town hall in east Ukraine by masked gunmen and shown to the media Sunday.

One of them was freed later in the day.

Self-declared Sloviansk Mayor Vyacheslav Ponomaryov said there was a possibility of exchanging the monitors for militia members held by the Kiev government.

Russia, an OSCE member, has pledged to take all possible steps to secure the release of the observers.

Pro-Russian protestors also occupied a regional television station building in Ukraine's eastern city of Donetsk Sunday.

Some 500 protestors gathered in front of the building, chanting slogans like "Russia!" and "Kiev cannot administer Donetsk!" and demanded that local television broadcast Russian TV programmes, instead of Ukrainian programmes.

The protestors also hoisted a flag of "the People's Republic of Donetsk" on top of the building.

First Published: Mon, April 28 2014. 16:40 IST