European Union leaders agreed Tuesday to impose broad economic sanctions against Russia, hoping to force Moscow to reverse course in Ukraine, EU sources said.
The new measures go beyond the asset freezes and visa bans used until now, instead imposing restrictions on the finance, defense and energy sectors so as to increase the cost to Russia of its continued intervention and support of pro-Moscow rebels in Ukraine.
An unnamed diplomat called the sanctions "significant" as they are intended to curb access to financial markets for Russian banks, and will ban export of military hardware and energy technology to Russia, among other things.
The sanctions are expected to take effect already this coming Thursday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the latest measures were "unavoidable", the BBC reports.
Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's ambassador to the EU said: "I am disappointed because the EU is slipping along the tracks that lead nowhere.
"I can understand that they are concerned with the situation; so are we, but it's not a prerequisite to impose sanctions."