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EU Expands Ukraine-Crisis Sanctions List

Russian President Vladimir Putin awards a medal to singer Iosif Kobzon (right) during a ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow in August 2012.
Russian President Vladimir Putin awards a medal to singer Iosif Kobzon (right) during a ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow in August 2012.

BRUSSELS -- The European Union has blacklisted an additional 19 individuals and nine entities for "undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine."

According to the February 16 announcement, among the 19 people who now will be under a visa ban and have their assets in the EU frozen are Russian First Deputy Defense Minister Arkady Bakhin and Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, as well as the deputy chief of the Russian General Staff of the armed forces, Andrei Kartapolov.

Two Russian State Duma members, famed singer Iosif Kobzon and Valery Rashkin, were added because of their support of the separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Kobzon was appointed honorary consul of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) in Russia, and Rashkin is the founder of the civic movement Krasnaya Moskva-Patriotic Front Aid, which has organized demonstrations supporting the separatists.

A spokesman for Russia's Foreign Ministry said in Moscow that the new sanctions will not help resolve the situation in Ukraine and that Moscow will respond "adequately."

Fifteen separatists from the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics are also blacklisted.

Aleksandr Shubin, Yevgeny Manuilov, and Olga Besedina -- who hold the unrecognized posts of ministers of justice, budget, and economic development, respectively -- were all included. Also added were the self-proclaimed DNR justice minister, Yekaterina Filippova; budget minister, Aleksandr Timofeyev; and communications minister, Viktor Yatsenko.

The Public Movement Novorossia is among the entities listed, together with eight separatist fighting units, including the Cossack National Guard, the Sparta Battalion, and the Somali Battalion. They will have their assets frozen in the EU.

The commander of the 1st Cossack Regiment, Pavel Dremov, and the commanders of the Sparta and Somali battalions, Arseny Pavlov and Mikhail Tolstykh, are also blacklisted.

The EU list now includes 151 individuals and 37 entities in Ukraine and Russia.

Brussels decided to add to its sanction list after the January 24 shelling of southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which killed at least 29 people.

The final decision on which names to include was made by EU foreign ministers on February 9, but the publication in the EU's official journal was delayed in order to give last week's negotiations in Minsk between the leaders of France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine a chance of succeeding.

Despite reaching a deal on February 12 in the Belarusian capital that included a cease-fire and the withdrawal of heavy arms from the front line, EU heads of government decided during a summit in Brussels the same day that the publication of the 19 names and nine entities would go ahead.

During the summit, EU Council President Donald Tusk noted that the EU would be ready to "take the necessary steps" in case the Minsk deal failed to be implemented, which could include harsher economic sanctions.

The leaders of the Group of Seven also highlighted that they would "intensify the costs for those violating the Minsk package."

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    Rikard Jozwiak

    Rikard Jozwiak is the Europe editor for RFE/RL in Prague, focusing on coverage of the European Union and NATO. He previously worked as RFE/RL’s Brussels correspondent, covering numerous international summits, European elections, and international court rulings. He has reported from most European capitals, as well as Central Asia.