EU sanctions unlikely to target Russia CEOs -Austria

VIENNA, March 17 Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:27am EDT

VIENNA, March 17 (Reuters) - Sanctions the European Union plans to impose on Russian and Crimean officials who fostered the breakaway of Crimea from Ukraine are unlikely to include the chiefs of big Russian energy companies, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said.

In an interview with broadcaster ORF aired on Monday, Kurz said Sunday's referendum supporting Crimea's joining Russia was unacceptable and would trigger visa bans and assets freezes for political and military officials behind the move.

The exact list of people to be put on the blacklist was still being negotiated by foreign ministers, he said.

Germany's Bild newspaper reported on Friday that the measures would include Gazprom head Alexei Miller and Rosneft head Igor Sechin.

"This is not expected at this time," Kurz said when asked about the two men. "I think picking business bosses indiscriminately would be a wrong step."

An initial list of 120 to 130 names will be whittled down to "tens or scores" before EU foreign ministers take the final decision in Brussels on Monday, diplomats said.

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