BRUSSELS: European Union foreign ministers agreed sanctions Monday against 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials deemed responsible for a contested independence referendum in Crimea, officials said.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said in a tweet that the 21 would be targeted by travel bans and asset freezes, with “more EU measures in few days”.
Leaders of the 28-nation bloc are to hold summit talks in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, with the crisis in Ukraine expected to top the agenda.
The list of those sanctioned by the ministers will be released in the EU’s daily Official Journal but diplomats said 13 were from Russia and 8 from Ukraine’s Crimea region.
They were targeted “for undermining the sovereignty of Ukraine.”
The ministers met after a referendum Sunday showed an overwhelming majority in Crimea in favour of joining Russia, a vote the EU condemned as illegal and in violation of Moscow’s own international commitments to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine.