The European Union could add more Russian journalists and law enforcement officers to a list of people targeted by sanctions, bringing to 107 the number of figures sanctioned by the bloc, the Kommersant business daily said Wednesday, April 9, citing sources in Brussels.
The expanded EU blacklist of Russians facing visa bans and asset freezes, including top government officials and businessmen, would be imposed if the EU decides Russia is escalating the conflict in Ukraine, the daily said, according to RIA Novosti.
The sanctions could target Russian media organizations and journalists who “actively participated in the propaganda efforts” in support of Crimea’s unification with Russia last month.
The potential list includes Russia's largest media group, Gazprom-media, and four major Russian TV channels: Rossiya, Russia Today, Channel One and NTV.
Three individual journalists could be added to the blacklist, Mikhail Leontyev, Irada Zeynalova and Mikhail Gusman, who may face sanctions similar to those already imposed against Dmitry Kiselev, the head of the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.
Russia says the crisis in Ukraine is the result of actions by the country’s new authorities, who seized power "as a result of an illegitimate coup" that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych in February.
The U.S. is also working on new sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy due to its interference in Ukrainian internal affairs, Secretary of State John Kerry said.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague called on the EU Tuesday to toughen sanctions against Russia, saying the recent protests in southeastern Ukraine bore "all the hallmarks of a Russian strategy to destabilize Ukraine."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected the claims and warned the West against “shifting the blame onto Moscow for the ongoing political turmoil in the country.”