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EU sanctions against Russia take effect

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New European Union sanctions targeting Russia over the crisis in Ukraine went into force on Friday, despite the threat of retaliation from Moscow.

The sanctions target major oil firms, defence companies and state-owned banks, denying them access to finance in crucial European markets.

They also add 24 individuals to a blacklist of people facing a travel ban and asset freeze.

The sanctions took effect after being published in the EU’s official journal.

Russian oil giants Rosneft and Transneft plus the petroleum unit of gas giant Gazprom are specifically targeted by the new punitive measures.

They also target United Aircraft Corporation — the parent company that produces MiG and Sukhoi fighter jets among others — tank maker Uralvagonzavod, and state-controlled aerospace holding company and helicopter maker Oboronprom.

EU nations finally approved the sanctions on Thursday after a week of divisions about whether they should be implemented despite a ceasefire in Ukraine.

European Council president Herman Van Rompuy said that the punitive measures could be lifted after a review of the truce at the end of September.

The Russian ruble slumped to a new record low of 37.72 against the dollar on Friday after the sanctions entered into force. SAPA

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