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European Union extends sanctions on Russian individuals, blacklisting another eight officials

16 Марта 2019

The European Union has extended sanctions against certain Russian individuals for another six months, the Council of the EU said in a statement on Friday.

"The United States and our transatlantic partners will not allow Russia's continued aggression against Ukraine to go unchecked", Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was quoted as saying.

The EU said its sanctions affected senior security service officials and military commanders accused of preventing Ukrainian ships from reaching port.

"Today's action targets individuals and entities playing a role in Russia's unjustified attacks on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait, the purported annexation of Crimea, and backing of illegitimate separatist government elections in eastern Ukraine", the U.S. Treasury said in a March 15 statement.

The Russian navy captured 24 Ukrainian sailors during the clash.

In their resolution, the European Parliament was also unequivocal in its call for the adoption of a European "Magnitsky Act" similar to the legislation adopted by the United States in 2012 and meant to punish Russian officials responsible for the death of Russian tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow prison in 2009.

Russian Federation must immediately release the 24 detained servicemen and return the seized vessels.

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"Canada and its allies are unwavering in our support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity", Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said.

The six defense firms operating in Crimea were targeted for misappropriating Ukrainian state assets to provide services to the Russian military during the 2014 annexation, it said.

In addition, the Council of the European Union "added eight Russian officials to the list of those subject to restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine".

On 25 November, Ukraine's Berdyansk and Nikopol gunboats and the Yany Kapu tugboat illegally crossed the Russian maritime border as they sailed toward the Kerch Strait, the entrance to the Sea of Azov.

Among them are Russian shipbuilding giant Zelenodolsk, the hydroacoustic equipment producer Okeanpribor, a diesel engine supplier to the Russian military, Zvezda, and an electronic parts supplier to the military, Fiolent.

The EU sanctions, imposed after Russian Federation seized control of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and began supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine, now includes 170 individuals and 44 entities. He claimed his net worth has dropped by $7.5bn because of the measures.

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European Union extends sanctions on Russian individuals, blacklisting another eight officials