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European Union envoys meeting to discuss dramatic toughening of sanctions against Russia

European Union ambassadors are meeting to discuss a dramatic toughening of the trade bloc's sanctions against Russia.

A decision is expected later Tuesday. Measures under discussion include limiting Russia's access to European capital markets and halting trade in arms and dual-use and sensitive technologies.

In a conference call with President Obama on Monday, the leaders of Britain, Germany, Italy and France expressed their willingness to adopt new sanctions against Russia in coordination with the United States, French officials said. The Western nations are demanding Russia halt the alleged supply of arms to Ukrainian separatists and other actions that destabilize the situation in eastern Ukraine.

German government spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz on Monday said Germany, the EU's most powerful country, is pressing for a "substantial, sector-specific package of measures" against Russia.