(Bloomberg) -- The European Union has expanded the categories of Russians who may be targeted for sanctions to include a wider swath of businesspeople and their family members as the bloc tries to strengthen its penalties on Moscow.

New EU sanctions criteria in force since June 5 expand the list of people that can be targeted to include “leading businesspersons operating in Russia and their immediate family members” or other people that benefit from them. 

Also at risk, according to the new text, are now any “businesspersons involved in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue” to Russia, and no longer just “leading” businesspeople involved in these markets.

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The EU has sanctioned almost 1,500 people and 207 entities since Russia’s attacks on Ukraine, starting with its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and followed by its invasion of Ukraine in February last year. But some EU nations had expressed concerns the sanctions weren’t effective enough and allowed those sanctioned to circumvent asset freezes through family members or others. 

The EU renews its sanctions list every six months, meaning the new criteria could be applied in the next round in September.

--With assistance from Kevin Whitelaw and Alberto Nardelli.

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