EU, US impose sanctions on Russians after Crimea vote
BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse
Estonia's Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague and France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius attend a European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels March 17, 2014. REUTERS PhotoEuropean Union foreign ministers agreed sanctions Monday against 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials deemed responsible for a contested secession referendum in Crimea, officials said.
Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told AFP that the 21 would be targeted by travel bans and asset freezes.
"These are persons from so-called Crimea leadership and Russian representatives, specifically from Duma and representatives of military forces, that took part in these illegal actions," he told AFP.
The minister said in a tweet that there would be "more EU measures in few days." Leaders of the 28-nation bloc are to hold summit talks in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, with the crisis in Ukraine expected to top the agenda.
The list of those sanctioned by the ministers will be released in the EU's daily Official Journal but diplomats said 13 were from Russia and 8 from Ukraine's Crimea region.
They were targeted "for undermining the sovereignty of Ukraine." The ministers met after a referendum Sunday showed an overwhelming majority in Crimea in favour of joining Russia, a vote the EU condemned as illegal and in violation of Moscow's own international commitments to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
US sanctions top Russian officials
The United States on Monday imposed financial sanctions on seven top Russian government officials and lawmakers to punish Russia's incursion into Crimea.
In a new executive order, President Barack Obama also imposed sanctions against former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and one of his top advisors and two top "separatist" leaders in Crimea.
The moves cemented the deepest confrontation between Washington and the Kremlin since the Cold War, and came as Crimea took several steps towards joining Russia a day after voting to do so in a referendum the West has called illegitimate.
Senior US officials said the sanctions were designed to punish "cronies" of Russian President Vladimir Putin's government who were intimately involved in the move into Crimea.
The list of officials who will see any property, assets and interests blocked in the United States includes Dmitry Rogozin, deputy prime minister, and several senior members of the Duma and advisors to President Vladimir Putin.
They also included Vladislav Surkov and Sergei Glazyev, key aides to Putin and Duma members Leonid Slutsky, Yelena Mizulina.
Federation Council members Andrei Klishas and Valentina Matviyenko are also targeted.
The officials targeted in Crimea include Sergei Aksyonov, who has named himself the interim prime minister of the territory and Vladimir Konstantinov, the speaker of the Crimean parliament.
Any assets of Yanukovych and Viktor Medvedchuk, leader of the pro-Russia "Ukrainian Choice" faction, in the United States will also be seized, the White House said.