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The European Commission is working to impose new sanctions targeting three Belarusian banks and Russian oligarchs and politicians, Reuters reported citing undisclosed sources. 

EU executives have adopted the sanctions’ draft that proposes to cut off three Belarusian lenders from SWIFT, a payments messaging system used by banks across the globe.

Last month, Russia recognized Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine as independent territories, which was followed by the launch of a military offensive against Ukraine. 

In response to Russia’s actions, the EU along with the US and the UK has imposed severe sanctions targeting key Russian banks and elites. 

Notably, the EU has already agreed to block seven Russian banks from the SWIFT system, but Belarusian lenders were not targeted at the time. 

The sources did not reveal the names of Belarusian banks that are being targeted.

EU’s new sanctions also seek to block naval equipment and software to Russia, while providing guidance to prevent evasion of EU sanctions through cryptocurrencies, the sources said.

So far, EU members have approved sanctions on Russia and Belarus without making any changes to them.

VTB Bank, Bank Rossiya, Bank Otkritie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank PJSC, Sovcombank PJSC and VEB.RF are the Russian lenders that have been already barred from SWIFT system. 

The EU refrained from including Sberbank and Gazprombank in the list because some EU members favoured keeping them on SWIFT to allow them to pay for energy imports from Russia.