EU agrees to impose sanctions on 21 Russians and Ukrainians

Photo: EU agrees to impose sanctions on 21 Russians and Ukrainians / Other News

European Union foreign ministers have agreed to impose sanctions including travel bans and asset freezes on 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine, Lithuania's foreign minister said on Monday, Reuters reported.

After a meeting lasting around three hours, the EU's 28 foreign ministers quickly reached agreement on the list of those to be sanctioned for their part in Russia's seizure of Crimea and Sunday's referendum to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

"[Foreign Affairs Council] just agreed on sanctions - travel restrictions & assets freeze against 21 official from Ukraine & Russia," Linan Linkevicius wrote in a message on Twitter.

He added that more measures would follow in a few days, when EU leaders meet for a summit in Brussels. They are expected to expand the list to include more senior figures closer to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The vast majority of residents of Crimea - 96 percent - voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, in a referendum held March 16.

With the exception of Russia most countries refused to recognize the referendum and its results.

A change of power took place in Ukraine on Feb.22.

The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) ousted President Viktor Yanukovych from the power, changed the constitution and scheduled presidential elections for May 25. Yanukovych said that he was forced to leave Ukraine under the threat of violence, and he remains the legally elected head of state. A number of provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine, as well as the Crimea did not recognize the legitimacy of the Rada and decided on possibility of holding a referendum on the future fate of the regions.

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