EU expands sanctions against Russia over Crimea

European Union’s 's ambassadors agreed to include two people and four legal entities on the sanctions list against Russia for their participation in the construction of the Crimean Bridge, reported TASS, citing a European diplomatic source.

"The ambassadors agreed to include two individuals and four companies involved in the construction of the Kerch Bridge on the list of restrictive measures for undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," he said. "The official decision will be taken by the EU Council at a later date according to a written procedure."

The EU written decision-making procedure at the ministerial level is initiated after the decision has been agreed and there are no objections in the EU Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER). This procedure is technical and does not involve discussions. The sanctions will come into force after the approval of the EU Council and published in the Official EU Journal.

In February 2014, armed people in uniforms without insignias appeared in Crimea and captured the Supreme Council of Crimea, the Simferopol Airport, the Kerch ferry crossing and other strategic objects, and prevented the Ukrainian army from taking action. Initially, the Russian government refused to acknowledge that these armed people were Russian soldiers, but President Vladimir Putin later admitted it.

On 16 March 2014, a referendum on the status of Crimea was held in Crimea and Sevastopol, in which the inhabitants supposedly voted for the peninsula to become part of Russia. The outcome of the so-called referendum is not recognized by Ukraine, the EU or the US. On 18 March, Putin announced the “annexation” of Crimea to Russia.

International organizations have declared the annexation illegal and condemned Russia’s actions. Western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia in connection with the annexation. Russia claims to have “restored historical justice”. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, declared 20 February 2014 the start of Russia’s temporary occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

  Crimea, EU, Russia