Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

UK Bid to Hit Russia Economy

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

UK Bid to Hit Russia Economy

Article excerpt

Byline: Oliver Wright and Andrew Buncombe The Independent

PROMINENT Russian oligarchs, businesses and politicians could face wide-ranging and draconian new EU sanctions as the West united last night to punish Moscow for the shooting down of Flight MH17.

Britain will urge other European countries to extend travels bans, asset freezes and business sanctions on any individual or entity in Russia deemed to be "influencing or supporting" the "Putin regime".

Existing sanctions only cover Russian individuals and firms deemed responsible for the recent conflict in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

At a meeting of foreign ministers, the new Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, will also call for a complete ban on new arms sales to Moscow and for faster progress in identifying companies and individuals "materially or financially supporting Russian action in eastern Ukraine". These are already covered by existing sanctions.

"We need to use the sense of shock, the sense of outrage, to galvanise opinion behind a more robust stance," Mr Hammond said. "We can inflict damage on the Russian economy."

The new range of sanctions under discussion reflects growing fury on both sides of the Atlantic over what Downing St called Russia's "unacceptable" response to the tragedy. No 10 sources revealed that Russia had blocked the release of a Security Council statement calling for a full, independent investigation into the shooting down of MH17.

They also expect Russia to veto a UN Security Council resolution being drafted by the UK and Australia calling for "full, safe and unfettered access" to the crash site and for those responsible to be "held to account".

At the crash site in Grabove in eastern Ukraine yesterday, pro-Russian rebels claimed that 192 bodies had been placed inside railway carriages in the town of Torez. Officials from the Office for Security and Co-operation in Europe said they had inspected three carriages and been told 167 corpses were inside them. …

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