The EU's General Affairs Council said in a statement on Tuesday that it had imposed sanctions on seven more Russian nationals over holding local elections in Crimea.
“The Council added seven people to the list of persons subject to restrictive measures due to actions that undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. This came in response to the organisation of local Russian elections on 8 September, 2019 in the illegally annexed Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol in Ukraine”, the statement claimed.
They include the chairman of the Sevastopol Legislative Assembly Vladimir Nemtsev, the head of the Crimean Council of Ministers Yury Gotsanyuk and Sevastopol governor Mikhail Razvozhaev.
The sanctions, which stipulate an asset freeze and travel restrictions, now apply to 177 persons and 44 entities, according to the EU's General Affairs Council.
An EU source said that the Council made the decision without a discussion and that the sanctions will come into force from the moment of their publication in the official journal of the EU.
EU Sanctions Against Russia
The EU first imposed its anti-Russian sanctions in March 2014, following Crimea's reunification with Russia after almost 97 percent of the peninsula's residents supported the move in a regional referendum.
Nevertheless, the reunification was not recognised by the majority of Western countries, including EU members. Moscow has repeatedly said that Crimea conducted the referendum in compliance with international law.
Since then, the EU has extended the sanctions on a bi-annual basis.
In September 2019, the Council moved to prolong sanctions against Russian individuals and entities over the Ukraine crisis for another six months, until 15 March 2020.
The restrictive measures, in particular, targeted Russian Upper House head Sergei Mironov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov, and many other politicians.