BRUSSELS -- The European Union on 12 March officially prolonged its asset freezes and visa bans against 150 Russian officials and Russia-backed Ukrainian separatists.
The six-month extension also continues sanctions against 38 entities.
The sanctions were first imposed by the EU against people involved in the violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity in 2014 when Russia occupied and illegally annexed Ukraine's Crimea region. The sanctions have been extended every six months since then.
Those on the sanctions list include Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, Armed Forces General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov, and state TV presenter Dmitry Kiselyov.
The entity list is dominated by Russia-backed battalions operating in eastern Ukraine and Crimea as well as companies from Crimea.
EU economic sanctions against Russia, which mainly apply to the country's energy and banking sector, are up for renewal in July.
But a decision on those sanctions is expected to be reached in late June at a meeting of EU leaders.
The EU also is expected to revisit the bloc's ban against investments in Russia-occupied Crimea.