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EU Expands Sanctions On Ukraine Separatists

  • RFE/RL

Deputies attend a first session of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic parliament in Donetsk on November 14, 2014.

Deputies attend a first session of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic parliament in Donetsk on November 14, 2014.

The European Union has imposed sanctions on separatist leaders who organized elections in eastern Ukraine this month, hitting individuals and organizations with asset freezes and travel bans.

On November 29, the EU published the names of 13 Ukrainian separatists and five of their political organizations that were added to a sanctions list that already covers 119 people and 23 entities.

The decision was made during an EU ambassadors' meeting in Brussels on November 27.

Pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions held their elections on November 2, saying the vote was the next step after local referendums in May calling for independence from Kyiv.

The West has condemned the elections as illegitimate but Russia has said it would recognize the results.

From the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic, the list includes local election chief Sergei Kozyakov, Defense Minister Oleg Bugrov, Finance Minister Dmitri Semyonov, as well as other ministers and deputies.

'No Time For Vacation'

In the neighboring self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, sanctions apply to Deputy Prime Minister Ravil Khalikov, deputy parliament speaker Aleksandr Kofman, and local government administration chief Yevgeniy Mikhaylov, among others.

The five entities subject to an assets freeze -- Donetsk Republic, Peace to Luhansk Region, Free Donbas, People's Union, and the Luhansk Economic Union -- had all nominated candidates for the polls.

The elections were "in breach of Ukrainian law and therefore illegal," the EU said, adding that those who took part in them "actively supported actions and policies which undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine."

Separatist rebel leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk dismissed the move, saying the sanctions have no impact on them.

"It's not the right time for a vacation now anyway," Denis Pushilin, a speaker for the so-called Donetsk Supreme Council, told the Interfax news agency.

"As for money, we don’t have money or bank accounts in [Europe] so…it's absolute nonsense and won't have any effect on our work," Pushilin was quoted as saying on November 29.

The European Union has also imposed a range of economic sanctions against Moscow.

Based on reporting by Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels, Reuters, and dpa
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