Exclusive: EU considers capital markets curbs among new Russia sanctions

Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:46pm EST
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By Jan Strupczewski

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - New European Union sanctions against Russia could include further capital markets restrictions, making it harder for Russian companies to refinance themselves and possibly affecting Russian sovereign bonds, EU officials said on Wednesday.

The EU could also move to further restrict Russia's access to advanced technology for its oil and gas industries.

EU foreign ministers are expected to ask the executive European Commission on Thursday to prepare a new round of sanctions to punish Moscow for its role in eastern Ukraine, however officials said the measures may not be adopted by EU leaders until March.

The EU called an extraordinary foreign ministers' meeting after Kiev said 30 civilians were killed in shelling of the government-held port of Mariupol by pro-Russian rebels on Saturday, shattering a five-month ceasefire.

The ministers are expected to extend until the end of 2015 asset freezes and travel bans imposed on dozens of Ukrainian and Russian people and organizations following Moscow's annexation of Crimea last March, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters. More names will be added to the list within a week.

Moscow denies direct involvement in the conflict despite NATO's assertions its troops are supporting the rebels.

The EU has found it hard to keep a united front on sanctions on Russia, and Greece emerged on Wednesday as a new potential obstacle to tougher measures following the election of left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Greece withheld its agreement to the draft statement prepared for Thursday's meeting, one diplomat said, leaving a decision on whether to endorse it to new Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.   Continued...

A worker inspects valves and pipes at an oil gathering station owned by Bashneft company near the village of Shushnur, northwest from Ufa, Bashkortostan, January 28, 2015.  REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin