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

Europa Building

Europa Building

The United States, Canada and the European Union pressed to release the sailors.

The EU's announcement coincided with the fifth anniversary of Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula and was coordinated with the United States and Canada.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the new sanctions today, calling the measures a response to the ongoing occupation of Crimea and the Russian arrests of Ukrainian sailors in the Black Sea last November.

Today, the United Kingdom and our global partners in the EU, Australia, Canada and the U.S. have sent an unequivocal message to Russian Federation that their attack on Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait and Black Sea previous year was absolutely unacceptable.

"The global community is strongly aligned against Russia's naval attacks in the Kerch Straight, purported annexation of Crimea, and support for the illegitimate separatist-conducted elections in eastern Ukraine", the statement reads.

"This joint initiative with our partners in the European Union and Canada reinforces our shared commitment to impose targeted and meaningful sanctions in response to the Kremlin's attempts to disregard worldwide norms and undermine Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity", said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

The EU's decision takes the number of people blacklisted by the bloc over the crisis in Ukraine to 170, plus 44 entities.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the incident a provocation, noting that there were members of the Ukrainian security service, who were in charge of the operation, on board the Ukrainian vessels.

The sanctions were slapped on six Russian defense firms, two Russian energy and construction companies operating in Crimea and few officials.

These sanctions are "in response to Russia's military actions against three Ukrainian vessels and the capture of Ukrainian sailors in the Black Sea in November 2018" and "coordinated with the European Union and the United States", underscoring "continued transatlantic unity in responding to Russia's aggressive actions in Ukraine and its violation of global law".

"We also call on Russian Federation to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, including its territorial waters". They are still in Russian detention.

"I have spent 30 years of my life building companies that are major players in the global economy, and will not let that hard work - along with millions of jobs and individual livelihoods - be destroyed by political scheming", he said in the statement sent by his spokeswoman.

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