BRUSSELS -- European Union ambassadors have decided to extend an asset freeze against former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and 15 of his close associates for at least one additional year.
The restrictive measures were first put in place in March 2014 after Yanukovych fled Ukraine during the Euromaidan protests against his government.
Other prominent figures on the EU blacklist for the alleged misappropriation of Ukrainian state funds include two former prime ministers, Mykola Azarov and Serhiy Arbuzov, and the former head of Yanukovych's presidential administration, Andriy Kliuiev.
EU officials say Ukraine's former Health Minister Raisa Bohatyriova was removed from the blacklist because she has returned stolen assets to the Ukrainian authorities.
EU ministers meeting in Brussels on March 4 are expected to approve the extension of the sanctions at a meeting in Brussels.
If approved, the extension would become official when it is published in the EU's official journal on March 5.
Based on reporting by Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels