The EU has added six Crimea lawmakers to its blacklist for supporting Russia's seizure of the peninsula in 2014. The bloc does not consider Crimea as part of Russia and refuses to recognize September's election result.
The new sanctions imposed on Wednesday are "in line with [the EU's] non-recognition policy," an EU Council statement said. "The EU considers that the persons who became members of the State Duma as a result of the elections in Crimea should be placed under sanctions."
The latest round of Ukraine-related asset freezes and a travel bans brings the total number of people to 152. Some 37 entities are also affected.
The new targeted sanctions were agreed during Tuesday's meeting of EU council finance ministers. Peter Kazimir, Finance Minister for Slovakia, which currently holds rotating presidency of the EU, said that the listings were adopted "in respect of actions undermining Ukraine's territorial integrity."
The six sanctioned Crimean politicians have been identified as Ruslan Balbek, Konstantin Bakharev, Dmitry Belik, Andrei Kozenko, Svetlana Savchenko and Pavel Shperov. All six were voted into the Russian parliament in September's Crimea elections.
The EU refuses to recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea, insisting that September's elections on the Black Sea peninsula were illegal. Current economic sanctions bars European individuals and organizations from importing goods produced in Crimea, as well as investing and providing tourism in the region.
Since last summer, the EU has already renewed a series of asset bans and travel freeze sanctions against individuals and companies. The hardest-hitting and most controversial sanctions are designed to impede Russian imports and restrict Russian banks' access to the European capital markets.
However, European officials are divided over whether the sanctions have been effective. EU leaders will review the current sanctions policies at a summit in December.
Nevertheless, Moscow's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its role in the bombardment of the besieged city of Aleppo have dampened any appetite among EU officials for greater conciliation.
dm/kms (dpa, AFP)