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Sebastian Kurz contradicts German media on EU sanctions

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has contradicted reports from German media by saying that sanctions against Russia made in response to developments in Ukraine would not be targeted at big energy company bosses.

It was reported last week by one of Germany's biggest newspapers Bild that efforts to freeze assets and sanction against pro-Russia or Russian companies would include targeting Russian business bosses Alexei Miller, of Gazprom and Igor Sechin, who heads up Rosneft.

However Kurz challenged this on Monday, saying that the list of people who will be included in the target list is still being finalised by foreign ministers.

"This is not expected at this time," Kurz said of the claims made in Bild about the two men. "I think picking business bosses indiscriminately would be a wrong step."

Sanctions against Russia are being planned by the European Union following the result of last weekend's referendum in the region of Crimea, where around 90% of voters chose to breakaway from Ukraine and join Russia. The referendum is viewed by most countries in the West as illegal, in part because it is inconsistent with the Ukrainian constitution which rules that all the Ukrainians, not just those in Crimea, would have to vote.

However some analysts say that any attempt at imposing sanctions on Russia won't be effective because the country controls much of the gas supply into Europe and actually placing financial pressure on Russia could backfire into problems for the economy in Europe.

The final decision on who will be targeted by EU sanctions is due to be made by foreign ministers on Monday.

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