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, RIA Novosti reported.
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 new list includes Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, speakers of the lower and upper houses of the Russian parliament, as well as two aides to President Vladimir Putin.
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.
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