The European Union has agreed to expand its third round of sanctions being imposed on Russia to target a larger number of oligarchs and officials close to President Vladimir Putin over Moscow's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
The French Presidency of the European Council said in a series of tweets on March 9 that the new sanctions added would apply to "Russian leaders and oligarchs and their family members implicated in the Russian aggression against Ukraine."
The third round of sanctions being imposed on Russia, the largest EU package agreed since the invasion began on February 24, includes a freeze on the Russian central bank's assets in the bloc and a ban on Kremlin media in the European Union.
The French Presidency said the new sanctions approved on March 9 also include targeting the maritime sector and measures aim at excluding three Belarusian banks from the SWIFT financial payment messaging system, while also clarifying the issue of cryptocurrencies and giving a complete list of technologies and goods that cannot be sold between Russia and the bloc.
It did not detail which banks in Belarus, which has assisted Moscow in the invasion, are affected or which technologies and goods are included in the sanctions.
"These sanctions will be formally adopted by the Council by written procedure with a view to their rapid publication in the Official Journal of the European Union," it said.
The EU has now sanctioned 680 people and 53 entities since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, recognized the independence of the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, and invaded the country in February.