EU Targets Top Russian Officials in Latest Sanctions
The European Union (EU) on Monday expanded its sanctions on Russia.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the latest sanctions target a senior Kremlin aide, a top Russian military commander and a host of Crimean and separatist Ukrainian leaders.
The list, agreed by European foreign ministers, includes 13 officials and two Crimea-based companies. The officials will face an EU asset freeze and travel ban. Any assets the companies have in the EU will be frozen.
The biggest name on the sanctions list is President Vladimir Putin's deputy chief of staff Vyacheslav Volodin, who the EU says is responsible for "overseeing the political integration" of Crimea, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The EU also targeted the commander of the Russian Airborne Troops, Colonel-General Vladimir Shamanov and Russian lawmaker Vladimir Pligin.
The EU added several Crimean officials to the sanctions list including Petr Jarosh, acting head of the Federal Migration Service in Sevastopol who the EU says was responsible for handing out Russian passports to Crimea residents. The bloc also targeted the Prosecutors of Crimea and Sevastopol.
The EU targeted two companies whose assets were appropriated by the new authorities in Crimea after Russia annexed the region. They were PJSC Cherno-Morneftegaz and Feodosia.
Before Monday's decision, the EU has placed sanctions on almost 50 Russian and other individuals connected to the takeover of Crimea and the troubles in eastern Ukraine.
On April 28, U.S. President Barack Obama announced new sanctions targeting a list of individuals and companies, including some close associates of Putin.
In response, Russia threatened the United States with a “painful response”, and its deputy minister for foreign relations said the sanctions were "meaningless, shameful, and disgusting."
The United States and the EU previously responded to Russia’s actions in Ukraine by imposing personal sanctions against Russian and Crimean officials involved in the seizure of the peninsula.
Putin, however, has remained unfazed by EU and U.S. economic sanctions, and has responded by drafting his own sanctions on top American senators.
The latest sanctions were announced hours after pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region declared victory in a referendum vote. The separatists said that 89% of residents of the region voted in favor of "self-rule."
Russia has yet to comment on the referendum, which occurred as separatists ignored Putin's calls to delay the vote for the sake of dialogue between the separatists and Ukraine.