UPDATE 1-Italy backs more Russia sanctions, says foreign minister

Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:08pm EDT

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SARAJEVO, July 24 (Reuters) - Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, a candidate to become the European Union's next foreign policy chief, reiterated on Thursday that she supports additional sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.

"We have all agreed unanimously to continue with pressures and expand the list of persons and firms to be sanctioned," Mogherini told reporters after talks with Bosnian officials.

EU foreign ministers met earlier this week and agreed to widen sanctions in response to the downing of a Malaysian airliner in an area of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists.

A draft proposal outlines a package of targeted measures in the areas of access to capital markets, defence, dual use goods and sensitive technologies, EU diplomats said on Thursday on condition of anonymity.

Italy currently holds the six-month rotating presidency of the EU, and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has put Mogherini forward to take over the role of foreign policy chief of the 28-nation body from Catherine Ashton later this year.

But Poland and the Baltic states are uneasy about her candidacy because of perceptions that she is soft on Russia, diplomats have said.

Poland has pushed its own foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, to succeed Ashton, but he is seen by some west European governments as too confrontational with Russia in the wake of Moscow's intervention in Ukraine. (Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Writing by Zoran Radosavljevic and Steve Scherer in Rome; Editing by John Stonestreet and Sonya Hepinstall)

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