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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 February 2019

EU to impose sanctions for Syrian chemical attack

Brussels has reportedly agreed to sanction five Syrians as part of new chemical weapons measures

A child receiving oxygen through a respirator following an alleged poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria. Syrian Civil Defence via AP
A child receiving oxygen through a respirator following an alleged poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria. Syrian Civil Defence via AP

The European Union will reportedly impose sanctions on Syrian officials suspected of orchestrating the regime’s chemical weapons attacks in a major widening of the punishments handed out for violating the ban on the weapons.

EU ambassadors have also reportedly agreed to add five Syrian citizens to the listing under the new chemical weapons sanctions’ regime. A separate report said that 11 people would be added to the list for a range of human rights violations.

A spokeswoman for the EU’s diplomatic service confirmed to The National that EU ambassadors had agreed to submit to the Council the first listings for the new sanctions regime to address the use and proliferation of chemical weapons.

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Foreign ministers who meet in Brussels on Monday will also target four Russian military intelligence officers accused of carrying out chemical weapons attacks, including the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian double agent in Salisbury last year.

Two of the officers who will be sanctioned are the men British authorities believe carried out the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, according to Radio Free Europe citing unnamed EU diplomats.

The two suspects, who claimed on Russian state television that their trip to Salisbury on the day that the Skripals were poisoned was to see the cathedral, have been named by investigators Bellingcat as Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga. Bellingcat said the pair worked for the GRU, Russia’s highly secretive military intelligence unit.

It is believed the sanctions will be adopted on Monday when EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels for the EU foreign affairs council.

Persons on the sanctions listing will be subject to a visa ban and will have any assets in the EU frozen, while entities on the listing will have assets frozen. EU citizens will also be forbidden from making funds available to any sanctioned person.

Updated: January 17, 2019 08:59 PM

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