Western nations are close to agreeing a raft of new sanctions against Russia in a co-ordinated push aimed at punishing Moscow for its aggression towards Ukraine in the Sea of Azov.
The new measures are expected to be discussed at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers next Monday and could be levied in the next two months, according to diplomats briefed on the discussions, The Financial Times reports.
“This is waiting in the wings,” said one of the diplomats, citing internal documents. The person added that the new sanctions were expected to be tabled by the end of March.
The fresh move to check Russia's persistent campaign of malign behavior would be jointly applied by the U.S. and the EU, diplomats said.
One western government official added that the sanctions were expected to be directed at individuals and companies involved in Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait last November.
More than two months after the incident, and despite repeated appeals from the U.S. and EU states to release them, 24 Ukrainian sailors, who Ukraine insists are prisoners of war, are still being held captive by the Russian authorities.