MOSCOW, March 21 (RIA Novosti) – The European Union on Friday extended asset freezes and travel bans on 12 Russian and Crimean officials allegedly responsible for what the West considers the seizure of Ukraine’s former region of Crimea by Russia.
The EU expanded the number of Russian and Ukrainian officials under sanctions to 33 early Friday morning, just hours after the United States added 20 more officials to its own list. French President Francois Hollande said the EU list largely mirrored a similar US list.
The individuals added to the list are: speakers of the upper and lower houses of parliament, Valentina Matviyenko and Sergei Naryshkin; Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the country’s military industry as deputy prime minister; presidential adviser Sergei Glazyev and presidential aide Vladislav Surkov.
It also includes head of the state news service Rossiya Segodnya Dmitry Kiselyov, lawmaker Elena Mizulina, deputy commanders of the Black Sea Fleet Alexander Nosatov and Valery Kulikov, commander of Russian forces in Crimea Igor Turchenyuk and chairmen of Crimea and Sevastopol electoral commissions, Mikhail Malyshev and Valery Medvedev.
Kiselyov said on Rossiya-1 TV channel on Friday evening that imposing sanctions on journalists was “an attack against the media freedom,” which “contradicts Europe’s basic human rights documents.”
The move was the latest escalation in the clash over Ukraine’s Crimea, the greatest geopolitical showdown between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War.
The US and EU announced asset freezes and travel bans targeting a number of Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin on Monday, following Crimea’s referendum.
EU officials have described three levels of sanctions against Russia. The first was the suspension three weeks ago of negotiations on visa liberalization to ease travel between EU member states and Russia.
Updates with names, Kiselyov’s comment