Portugal's new government aligned with tougher energy sanctions on Russia

LISBON (Reuters) -Portugal's new government is aligned with the European Union's intention to ramp up sanctions on Russia's energy sector over its invasion of Ukraine, Environment and Energy Minister Maria da Graca Carvalho has said.

The centre-right minority government took over last month after a narrow win in a March 10 election that ended eight years of Socialist rule.

The European Commission's next sanctions package is expected to propose restrictions on Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the first time, including a ban on trans-shipments in the EU, according to a document seen by Reuters.

This would not directly bar Russian LNG imports to the bloc, but would ban provision of re-loading services by EU facilities for trans-shipment of Russian LNG to third countries.

"In general, the Portuguese government is aligned with the European Union's energy policies, namely with the measures that aim to ensure our strategic sovereignty ... just as it is in favour of toughening sanctions" to pressure Russia to end the invasion, the minister said in a statement dated May 8.

The statement was in response to questions from Reuters and was only seen on Wednesday. A ministry spokesperson said the official position remained the same.

She declined to comment specifically on the preliminary version of 14th sanctions package that needs to be formalised by the Commission and then approved by all member states in the Council.

(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Alison Williams)