EU members have started discussing a potential new package of sanctions to penalize Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, according to several diplomats.
Among the targets under consideration: ports, oligarchs’ families and trust funds.
The potential new sanctions were chewed over Thursday at a meeting of the Political and Security Committee, a Council of the EU body that deals with security and defense.
Some diplomats wanted these targets added to the EU’s most recent sanctions package and others mentioned the possibility of widening the measures that banished several Russian banks from the international SWIFT payment network. But there are also diplomats who have pushed back against this, arguing that before adding other banks to the sanctions list, the EU should first wait out the 10-day grace period of the SWIFT ban to observe its effect. SWIFT allows Russia to easily conduct international business.
As of Thursday, discussions on a new sanctions package remained in the early stages. Some diplomats stressed that the issue will greatly depend on how the war unfolds in the coming days.
In Paris, French officials expressed their desire to move forward with additional penalties.
France is prepared to “toughen sanctions,” an Elysée official told reporters following a call between French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We must yet evaluate those we have already put in place and we are going to complement them,” the official added, noting Putin left Macron with the impression that the worst was yet to come in Ukraine.
The European Commission could decide to put a fresh sanctions package on the table as soon as Friday at a meeting of EU foreign ministers.
The meeting will also include U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
EU ministers could agree on a new round of penalties on the gathering’s margins.