After a number of recent discussions, European Union ambassadors have reached a preliminary agreement to bring new sanctions against Russia. While the details are still being discussed, the ambassadors agree that economic sanctions of some sort will be issued in the wake of the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight 17, which killed 298 people.

The ambassadors have asked the European Union's executive Commission to write the legal documents needed for these economic sanctions. The Commission has suggested a number of new restrictions, including "closing EU capital markets to state-owned Russian banks, an embargo on arms sales to Moscow and restrictions on the supply of energy and dual-use technologies." 

While these are certainly the most severe sanctions to date, they will not affect the current supply of gas or oil from Russia. This has been a great point of contention. For the EU, 30 percent of their energy comes from Russia. Some countries are even more dependent; 55 percent of Greece’s energy is also Kremlin based. The EU will also consider restrictions on technology for oil drilling in the deep sea, and Arctic exploration. This will be of particular interest to Rosneft, which currently has a potential $900 billion oil deal with ExxonMobil in the Arctic. 

Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told Reuters, "The direction of travel here is very clear but we are still travelling." The Commission will work to define exact details, however, EU officials have confirmed the sanctions will cover four major areas:

  • access to the European financial markets
  • defence technology 
  • energy technology 
  • defense and civilian equipment 

The EU will also sanction 15 individuals and 18 entities, who will be subject to having their assets frozen. 

The timeline is still being set for these new sanctions. Currently, the Commission is set to review a draft on Monday. A revised draft may be accepted on Tuesday, if it is ready in time.