BRUSSELS, March 21 European Union leaders agreed
on Thursday to widen the list of Russian officials subject to
personal sanctions over Moscow's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine
and asked the European Commission to prepare for broader
economic sanctions if the crisis escalates.
Merkel said the EU was ready to support Ukraine's new
government financially, provided it reached a deal with the
International Monetary Fund, oh which she said talks had made
substantial progress and a deal was expected soon.
She told a news conference after the first day of an EU
summit in Brussels that the EU was prepared to send an observer
mission to Ukraine but would prefer the pan-European security
watchdog OSCE to send monitors if Russia will agree on a
Merkel declined to say how many names would be added to the
EU blacklist of people subject to visa bans and asset freezes on
Friday but said they were of the same level as the 21
mid-ranking Russian and Crimean officials sanctioned last week.
(Writing by Paul Taylor)