EU imposes new economic sanctions on Russia

The sanctions include restrictions on financing for some Russian state-owned companies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the SCO Heads of State Council meeting at the Navruz palace in Dushanbe on 12 September, 2014. Picture: AFP.

BRUSSELS -The European Union put into effect on Friday a new round of sanctions against Russia over its role in Ukraine, including restrictions on financing for some Russian state-owned companies and asset freezes on leading Russian politicians.

The EU and the United States have been stepping up pressure on Moscow after its annexation of Crimea in March and what the West sees as an effort since then to further destabilise Ukraine by backing pro-Russian separatists in the east with troops and arms.

The EU has held out an olive branch, however, by saying it could lift some or even all of the sanctions within weeks - if Moscow abides by a fragile truce and respects a peace plan.

The United States has said it will give details of new tougher sanctions on Russia later on Friday.

Sanctions published in the EU's Official Journal on Friday included asset freezes and travel bans on Igor Lebedev and other deputy speakers of the Russian lower house of parliament, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, an outspoken nationalist politician, and a number of leaders of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Also sanctioned was Sergei Chemezov, described as a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin from his KGB days in Dresden. He is chairman of Rostec, a leading defence and industrial group that includes arms supplier Rosoboronexport and a firm that is planning to build energy plants in Crimea.

State-owned Rosoboronexport said it did not expect the sanctions to have an impact on its business.