BRUSSELS – The European Union is targeting 19 individuals linked to the fighting in eastern Ukraine, including five Russians, in a new list of sanctions set for approval on Monday.
Diplomats said Friday that a meeting of EU foreign ministers only needs to rubberstamp the list, barring a major breakthrough on the diplomatic front over the weekend. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande were set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin later Friday, a day after discussing their proposals with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
One diplomat said the five Russians include members of parliament and officials of the defense ministry.
The EU now has visa bans and asset freezes on 132 individuals and 28 entities.
The list of entities -- mainly companies and separatist groups in eastern Ukraine not recognized by the West -- will grow by nine, including one Russian entity, the diplomats said.
A new list of possible economic sanctions is being drawn up by EU agencies but no discussion on them is likely before EU leaders meet in Brussels next Thursday.
The diplomats said the move to quickly expand the visa ban and asset freeze list shows that the EU remains united on sanctions, even though a potentially more pro-Russian government has been formed in Greece.
"This is a significant list, and one that everyone has agreed on," one EU diplomat said.