EU seeks new Russia sanctions package, targets Iran’s drones

BRUSSELS (AP): The European Union is considering a new set of sanctions totaling 11 billion euros against Russia and some third countries providing vital goods that Moscow uses to boost its troops on the battlegrounds in Ukraine.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that the package under consideration by the EU’s 27 member countries specifically seeks to deprive Russia of military equipment it needs and cannot get anywhere else.

It includes proposals to subject seven Iranian entities to sanctions to try to prevent Russia from using Iranian drones to hit Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.

The proposals put forward by von der Leyen center on additional electronic weapons components for equipment such as drones, missiles, helicopters and thermal cameras. She had hinted at some of the measures during an EU-Ukraine summit early this month.

If the proposals are endorsed unanimously by the EU members, “we have banned all tech products found on the battlefield,” von der Leyen said.

Ambassadors were to assess what is called a 10th package of sanctions against Russia later Wednesday. It is further expected to be discussed during a Monday meeting of EU foreign ministers in hopes of having final approval by the Feb. 24 anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The package also tries to close loopholes that have allowed some measures from earlier packages to be circumvented and seeks to go after oligarchs who try to escape sanctions.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said it will also seek to target 100 additional individuals and entities, including those who have been involved in kidnappings and taking Ukraine children to Russia.

Usually, EU sanctions are decided in close cooperation with major Western partners like the United States and Britain. The partners usually announce similar packages within a very short time frame.