According to French diplomats, Brussels is preparing to target some of Belarus’s main economic sectors including timber and steel.
The move comes a day after Britain launched a first tranche of sanctions against Belarusian individuals and organisations in response to the role the country is playing in facilitating Russia’s assault on Ukraine.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced that four Belarus defence chiefs had been sanctioned including the chief of the general staff and first deputy minister of defence.
The UK is also weighing further sanctions against Russia, including targeting more high-profile oligarchs with close ties to Britain.
Brussels is expected to confirm later today plans to join the UK and US in barring some Russian banks from using the Swift international financial system — seen as a major tool in hobbling the Russian economy.
Separately EU finance ministers were meeting this afternoon to assess the package of tough-hitting measures they have already unveiled which added 26 individuals to its sanctions list including oligarchs and businessmen active in the oil, banking and finance sectors, as well as government members, and military personalities.
Yesterday Labour MP Chris Bryant pressed British ministers to go further on sanctions against Russian oligarchs and other individuals with close ties to the Kremlin.
Mr Bryant told MPs: “I fear that the Government is frightened of lawyers’ letters from all these oligarchs’ friends. One way to circumvent that is if ministers read into the record, in a proceeding in Parliament, all the sanction criteria, then they would be protected.”