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By Adrian Croft and Barbara Lewis BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union reached outline agreement on Friday to impose the first economic sanctions on Russia over its behavior in Ukraine but scaled back their scope to exclude technology for the crucial gas sector. The sanctions on access to capital markets, arms and hi-tech goods are also likely to apply only to future contracts, leaving France free to go ahead with the controversial delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers being built for Russia. After months of hesitation, the 28-nation EU toughened its stance toward Moscow after last week's downing of a Malaysian airliner, killing 298 people, in an area of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists. After a discussion that lasted all day Thursday and part of Friday, ambassadors asked the executive European Commission to draw up a legal text setting out economic sanctions for possible agreement as early as next week.