TODAY.AZ / Politics

EU follows U.S. to shake Russia

29 April 2014 [17:15] - TODAY.AZ
The European Union imposed asset freezes and travel bans on 15 Russians and Ukrainians, including a Russian deputy prime minister, Dmitry Nikolayevich Kozak, over Moscow's action in Ukraine, but steered clear of any sanctions on business leaders, Reuters reported.

The latest list included Ludmila Ivanovna Shvetsova, a deputy chairman of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament, Valery Vasilevich Gerasimov, chief of staff of Russia's armed forces, as well as separatist leaders in Ukraine.

But it did not include the heads of Russian energy giants such as Rosneft's Igor Sechin, who had been included on a new U.S. sanctions list on Monday.

The decision brings to 48 the number of people that the EU has put under sanctions for actions it says have undermined Ukraine's territorial integrity.

Russia annexed the Crimea region after Ukraine's pro-Moscow president was ousted in February by protesters demanding closer links with Europe. Kiev and the West accuse Russia of stirring up a separatist campaign in the east, a charge Moscow denies.

The EU decision coincided with an earlier White House announcement that the United States was imposing sanctions on seven Russians and 17 companies linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The United States has been much more aggressive in the penalties it has imposed on Russia than has the European Union, which depends heavily on Russia for energy and has close trading links.

The EU has so far only put sanctions on individuals, not companies. The European Commission is drawing up a list of tougher economic sanctions, possibly affecting trade or the energy or finance sectors, that could be imposed on Russia.

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

The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine ousted President Viktor Yanukovych from the power, changed the constitution and scheduled presidential elections for May 25.

Yanukovych said 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.

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.

Russia and Crimea signed an agreement on March 18 on Crimea as well as Sevastopol city joining the Russian Federation.


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