* More people put under asset freezes and visa bans
* EU measures less aggressive than U.S. penalties
* Brussels still working on more far-reaching sanctions
(Adds new sanctions imposed, quotes)
By Adrian Croft
BRUSSELS, April 28 The European Union imposed
asset freezes and visa bans on 15 more Russians and Ukrainians
on Monday as part of expanded sanctions on Moscow over its
actions in Ukraine.
The decision brings to 48 the number of people that the EU
has put under sanctions for, it says, helping undermine
Ukraine's territorial integrity.
The names of the 15 will not be made public until they are
published in the EU's Official Journal on Tuesday.
EU diplomats said they would not include the heads of
Russian energy giants such as Rosneft's Igor Sechin,
who was included on a new U.S. sanctions list on Monday.
The EU decision coincided with a White House announcement
that the United States was imposing sanctions against seven
Russians and 17 companies linked to Russian President Vladimir
The United States has been much more aggressive in the
penalties it has imposed on Russia than has the 28-nation
European Union, which depends heavily on Russia for energy.
The EU has so far only put sanctions on individuals, not
companies. EU ambassadors, meeting on Monday, discussed the need
to broaden the legal basis to enable the bloc to put sanctions
on companies, diplomats said.
The European Commission is drawing up a list of tougher
economic sanctions, possibly affecting trade or the energy or
finance sectors, that could be imposed on Russia.
The EU is split between countries in favour of stronger
action, including Britain, France, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, the
Czech Republic and the Baltic countries, and those who are
reluctant, such as Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Hungary,
Luxembourg, Austria, Spain, Portugal and Malta.
"The main issue is to see how best to get a diplomatic
resolution to the crisis, what is necessary to entice Russia to
sit around the (negotiating) table. Sanctions are not an end in
themselves," one diplomat said.
Another diplomat said he believed the EU would eventually
decide on tougher sanctions against Russia if the situation in
Ukraine continued to deteriorate.
"I can't imagine that if the Americans act that the
Europeans won't do anything," he said.
(Additional reporting by Justyna Pawlak and Luke Baker; editing
by Andrew Roche)