The European Union has announced a new round of sanctions that target 15 individuals with a travel ban and assets freeze as the situation in eastern Ukraine has continued to escalate.

From CNN:

The European Union has imposed sanctions related to the crisis in Ukraine on another 15 people, bringing the total number targeted to 48.

The EU said Monday they are responsible for actions that “undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

The targets include Dmitry Kozak, Russia’s deputy prime minister; Russian military chief Valery Gerasimov; and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, including Denis Pushilin, the self-declared leader of the “Donetsk People’s Republic.”

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she was alarmed by the worsening security situation in eastern Ukraine, and she called on Russia to take “concrete steps” in support of an international deal signed this month aimed at easing tensions.

She warned that if necessary, the European Union “will look at possible additional individual measures” related to the crisis.

The EU’s move comes just on the heels of an announcement from the United States regarding its own expansion of sanctions against Russia. The Department of Treasury indicated Monday it is imposing additional sanctions on “seven Russian government officials, including two members of President Putin’s inner circle, who will be subject to an asset freeze and a U.S. visa ban, and 17 companies linked to Putin’s inner circle, which will be subject to an asset freeze.”

The situation on the ground in eastern Ukraine meanwhile remains tense.

Pro-Russia activists stormed more buildings in the city of Luhansk on Tuesday, where a security headquarters building was overtaken several weeks ago.

From BBC News:

Pro-Russia activists have stormed several official buildings in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk.

They seized the regional government’s headquarters and prosecutor’s office before attacking the police station, reportedly with automatic rifles.

Interim President Olexander Turchynov criticised local police for their “inaction” and “criminal treachery”.

The US accused Russia of seeking to “change the security landscape” of Eastern and Central Europe.

The mayor of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine was shot in the back on Monday, and was reportedly in critical condition after undergoing emergency surgery, according to CNN.

On Friday, eight military monitors with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were seized by separatists in eastern Ukraine.  One has since been released due to medical reasons, but the others remain detained, according to Reuters.

In response to the EU’s sanctions Tuesday, Russia had some sharp criticism.

From the NY Times:

The Russian Foreign Ministry responded on Tuesday that the Europeans were merely “going along with Washington” and had done nothing to pressure Kiev to negotiate with rebellious residents of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southern and eastern provinces.

“Our partners are going along with Washington with newer and newer unfriendly gestures toward Russia,” the ministry said in a statement on the state-run news agency RIA Novosti. The statement said that the European measures revealed a “full misunderstanding of the domestic political situation” in Ukraine.

The European Union is Russia’s biggest trading partner, but it also depends on Russia for significant oil and gas supplies, making some of its member states, most significantly Germany, cautious about using its economic clout against Moscow.

The bloc has threatened tougher sanctions if the crisis in eastern Ukraine worsens. Measures directly targeting Russia’s energy and financial sectors are not yet under consideration.

Video report below from CNN.


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