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Putin's judo partner among Russians hit by sanctions

Three long-time Putin associates are among the list of eight individuals who have been hit with new European Union sanctions, including Putin's former judo partner Arkady Rotenberg.

Prime Minister Putin taking part in a judo training session at the Moscow sports complex St Petersburg in 2010.
Prime Minister Putin taking part in a judo training session at the Moscow sports complex St Petersburg in 2010. Credit: Reuters

The US and European Union also announced a raft of new penalties to limit the trade of arms and technology that can be used in the oil industry and for military purposes.

The EU also put its capital markets off limits for Russian state-owned banks.

US officials said roughly 30% of Russia's banking sector assets would now be constrained by sanctions.

US and European leaders said they are prepared to intensify sanctions unless it moves to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine. In a statement this evening, the G-7 leaders said:

Russia still has the opportunity to choose the path of de-escalation, which would lead to the removal of these sanctions. If it does not do so, however, we remain ready to further intensify the costs of its adverse actions.

– G7 Leaders Statement on Ukraine

Read: EU sanctions will 'inevitably lead to high energy prices'

EU sanctions will 'inevitably lead to higher energy prices'

EU sanctions will "inevitably" lead to higher energy prices on the European market, Russia has claimed.

Russian Foreign Ministry said Brussels itself is "creating barriers" for cooperation in the energy sector.

The European Union and US agreed new sanctions against Russia, targeting financial, oil and defence industries.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said today the European Union sanctions imposed on Russia are hurting the country's economy.

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Russia: 'Destructive' sanctions will hurt United States

Russia called new US sanctions "destructive and short-sighted" on Wednesday and said they would only aggravate ties between Russia and the United States, already at their lowest point since the end of the Cold War over the Ukraine crisis.

"Such decisions by Washington can bring nothing but further aggravation of U.S.-Russia relations and create an utterly unfavourable environment in international affairs, where the cooperation between our states often plays a decisive role," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"The de-facto losses from this destructive and short-sighted policy will be quite tangible for Washington."

Hammond: Sanctions are hurting Russian economy

Sanctions imposed on Russia are having an affect on the economy according to Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary.

He said Russia's predicted economic growth for this year had gone from 2.5 per cent before sanctions to "roughly zero".

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said sanctions were weakening the Russian economy.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said sanctions were weakening the Russian economy. Credit: ITN

"It is having a cost on Russia it is having a disproportionate cost on the group of people that supports and sustains the Kremlin leadership," Mr Hammond said.

"I hope they will be urging a more considered response by the Russian leadership."

He also said the Government was due to announce a new set of sanctions against Vladimir Putin's government later today.

Read: Russia attacks 'hypocritical' UN over human rights claims

Virgin Atlantic to stop flying over Iraq

Virgin Atlantic has joined other airlines in deciding not to fly over Iraq due to safety concerns.

Fears that insurgents could fire rockets at passenger planes have been heightened by the recent downing of flight MH17 in Ukraine.

Virgin Atlantic says it will not fly over Iraq due to safety concerns.
Virgin Atlantic says it will not fly over Iraq due to safety concerns. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

However some airlines, including British Airways, are continuing to fly over Iraq and have stressed the need for clear guidelines on which routes are safe to fly.

Virgin's decision follows a decisions from aviation chiefs to set up a new task force to ensure information affecting airline safety is effectively collected and distributed.

Read: Airlines to discuss post-MH17 flight routes

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Top level task force to look at threat to passenger planes

A "senior level" international task force has been set up by world aviation chiefs to tackle the threat to passenger planes from ground-based weaponry following the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Top level task force to look at threat to passenger planes
Top level task force to look at threat to passenger planes Credit: PA

Now a top-level safety conference involving more than 190 nations is to take place under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The ICAO's secretary general Raymond Benjamin said that while aviation was still a safe form of travel, Mr Benjamin said that the MH17 disaster had "raised troubling concerns" in respect of civilian aircraft.

He said the task force would be composed of state and aviation industry experts who would see how intelligence regarding the safety of planes could be effectively gathered and passed on to all those affected.

Obama: Sanctions have already made Russia 'weaker'

US President Barracks Obama said a new round of sanctions will continue to ratchet up the pressure on Russia.

President Obama said sanctions had made the Russian economy weaker.
President Obama said sanctions had made the Russian economy weaker. Credit: ITV News

The US leader said existing sanctions have already made the Russian economy even weaker.

He added: "If Russia continues on this current path, the costs on Russia will continue to grow."

EU sanctions meant as a 'strong warning' to Russia

European Union sanctions against Russia were meant as a "strong warning" that Russia's actions in Ukraine, according to Europe's top two officials.

In a joint statement the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said: "The European Union will fulfill its obligations to protect and ensure the security of its citizens. And the European Union will stand by its neighbours and partners."

The measures will shut major state-owned Russian banks out of European capital markets and target the defence sector and sensitive technologies, including oil. But they will exclude the vital gas sector, on which Europe is heavily dependent.

Barroso and Van Rompuy also warned that they would bring "heavy costs" to Russia's economy.

Apart from agreeing on the economic measures, ambassadors also signed off on a new list of Putin's associates and companies that will face asset freezes and visa bans under previous measures.

Eight more officials including four members of the Russian leader's inner circle, are also expected to be added the current list of 87.

The sanctions will initially last a year but will be reviewed after three months on Oct. 31 to determine their impact on Moscow's behaviour, diplomats said

The EU does more than 10 times as much trade with Russia as the United States.

US expands sanctions against Russia

The US expanded the list Russian businesses to be subjected to sanctions because Moscow's support for separatists in Eastern Ukraine, the US Treasury Department said.

Almost all the largest banks with state ownership of over 50 percent were affected, including the Bank of Moscow and the Russian Agriculture Bank.

The sanctions limits the dealings US citizens and companies can have with them.

Sanctions have also been imposed on a shipbuilding company based in St. Petersburg. Any assets held in the US have been frozen and American companies have been prohibited from dealing with them.

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