EU further extends Ukraine sanctions on Putin associates

The European Union on Thursday extended sanctions issued over the crisis in Ukraine for a further six months, with the targets including close associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The bloc has implemented several rounds of restrictive measures in a bid to halt the violence in eastern Ukraine that erupted in 2014. More than 9,000 people have died in the conflict, according to estimates by the United Nations.

The sanctions extended Thursday were issued over actions that "undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine," according to the EU.

The West has accused Russia of supporting pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine, a charge that Moscow denies.

Any assets that the targeted 146 people and 37 entities may have had in the EU will remain frozen until at least September 15, while the individuals are also banned from travelling to the 28-country bloc.

Three names were removed from the sanctions list - which was last renewed in September - because they have since died, the EU said.

The list includes Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, Putin adviser Sergey Glazyev and the billionaire businessman Arkady Rotenberg - a former judo partner of Putin and one of his closest associates.

The entities targeted are mostly located in Crimea and the separatist areas in Ukraine, but also include Russian state-owned companies.

The sanctions extension will come into effect when it is published in the EU's Official Journal on Saturday.

The EU has also issued asset freezes against people suspected of embezzling Ukrainian state funds, targeting the country's former president Viktor Yanukovych, among others. These measures were extended last week.

But the hardest-hitting - and most controversial - sanctions the EU has implemented are economic measures against Moscow, meant to hamper Russian imports and Russian banks' access to European capital markets. These are up for renewal in July.

The lifting of these economic measures has been linked to the full implementation of a peace deal for eastern Ukraine.

The Minsk agreement was supposed to be implemented by the end of the year, but independent monitors are reporting almost daily violations.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

More from Europe

Dutch right-wing populist Geert Wilders found guilty of hate speech

Dutch right-wing populist Geert Wilders has been found guilty of hate speech for leading a chant against Moroccans...

Vatican places migrants' boat in 2016 Christmas Nativity scene

The European migration crisis features at the centre of the Vatican's Christmas Nativity scene this year, in a...

Police say 98 clubs impacted in child abuse investigations

Police say 98 clubs are impacted and 83 potential suspects have been identified in allegations of non-recent child...

One in six workers in EU earns low wages, according to report

Nearly one in every six employees in the European Union is earning the lowest of wages, according to the European...

Ukraine moves to ban imports of Russian books

The import of Russian books into Ukraine would be sharply limited under new legislation passed in the Ukrainian...