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EU To Sanction Five People Over Ukraine Separatist Vote

An European Union flag flies outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels.

BRUSSELS -- The European Union is set to add five individuals involved in the organization of the weekend elections in the areas controlled by Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine to its sanctions list, according to sources in Brussels.

The bloc’s foreign ministers are due to agree to the move when they meet in the Belgian capital on November 19, several EU sources familiar with the matter who could not speak on the record told RFE/RL on November 15.

A formal decision is expected to be taken later in the month, they also said.

The five individuals would join 155 other people from Russia and Ukraine who are currently subject to EU asset freezes and travel bans.

The bloc has also frozen the assets of 44 entities from both countries since Moscow's seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region in March 2014 and its support for separatists in a conflict that has killed more than 10,300 people in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.

Kyiv and its international backers, including the European Union and the United States, have denounced the November 11 polls in the areas held by the separatists in the Donetsk and neighboring Luhansk regions as a sham.

They say the elections to choose the separatists heads in the two regions will further hamper efforts to put an end to the fighting between Ukrainian government forces and the separatists.

However, Moscow argues that the vote didn't violate the Minsk agreements signed in September 2014 and February 2015, laying out steps for settling the conflict.

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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.