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EU Commission proposes ninth package of sanctions against Russia

FILE PHOTO: European Parliament plenary session in Brussels

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission on Wednesday proposed a ninth package of sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine that would include almost 200 more individuals and entities on the EU sanctions list.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it favoured new sanctions against three additional Russian banks and new export controls and restrictions, especially for dual-use goods like key chemicals, nerve agents, electronics and IT components.

Russia "continues to bring death and devastation to Ukraine and is deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, seeking to paralyse the country at the beginning of the winter", she said in a statement.

She added that the eight packages of sanctions the EU had introduced so far are already biting hard and now the bloc wanted to raise the pressure on Russia with a ninth package.

Sanctions require the unanimous backing of all the bloc's 27 member states, but most of the measures proposed in the first eight packages were approved by their representative European Council within weeks, though some were dropped or watered down.

The eighth package was approved on Oct. 5 and included more trade restrictions and targeted more individuals.

Von der Leyen said new individuals and entities proposed for the sanctions list included the Russian armed forces as well as individual officers and defence industries, members of the Russian parliament's State Duma and Federation Council, ministers, governors and political parties.

"This list covers key figures in Russia's brutal and deliberate missile strikes against civilians, in the kidnapping of Ukrainian children to Russia, and in the theft of Ukrainian agricultural products," she said.

The Commission also proposed sanctions against three additional Russian banks, including a full transaction ban on the Russian Regional Development Bank "to further paralyse Putin's cash machines".

The Commission said it further aimed to cut Russia's access to drones and unmanned aerial vehicles and ban the direct export of drone engines to Russia and to any third countries, such as Iran, which could supply drones to Russia.

(Reporting by GV De Clercq; editing by William Maclean and Mark Heinrich)