EU backs broader sanctions for Ukraine crisis

BRUSSELS (AP) - Senior European Union diplomats say EU officials have given preliminary approval to broadening Ukraine-related sanctions to include people, companies or organizations that have profited illicitly from Russia's takeover of Crimea.

To take effect, the new sanctions must be formally approved by the 28-nation bloc's foreign ministers, who will meet in Brussels on Monday. To date, the EU has ordered a visa ban and asset freeze for 48 people it accuses of threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.

A senior EU diplomat, speaking on condition he not be identified by name, said Thursday there's some agreement that this criterion was too narrow and made it impossible to go after companies.

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