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 EU to extend sanctions on Putin 'cronies', - media

EU states have decided to extend the duration of blacklists of Russians and Ukrainians deemed responsible for the Ukraine conflict or for plundering Ukraine’s treasury.

Ambassadors said during a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday (2 March) that visa bans and asset freezes on 149 people and 37 entities deemed responsible for violating Ukraine's "territorial integrity" would stay in force for six more months, Censor.NET reports citing euobserver.

Read more: US extends sanctions against Russia for one year

Asset freezes on 16 people accused of "misappropriation" of Ukrainian state funds would stay in place for another year.

The lists would be tweaked to take note of minor developments, the envoys said.

Three people on the "territorial integrity" list have died since the last time the EU updated the file, including a Russian spy chief Igor Sergun.

EU sources say former Ukrainian health minister Raisa Bohatyriova has returned stolen money, so will be removed from the "misappropriation" register.

Read more: Former minister Bohatyriova has no assets abroad, no use in sanctions, - PGO

But Wednesday's decision means all the big names are still on Europe's blacklist.

The roll-call includes Russian deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, senior Kremlin aides Sergey Glazyev and Vladislav Surkov, and Kremlin security chiefs Mikhail Fradkov, Aleksandr Bortnikov, Boris Gryzlov and Sergei Beseda.

Also on the list are senior Russian MPs such as Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin and firebrand nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, as well as a TV anchorman Dmitry Kiselyov who was listed for propaganda activities.

Read more: "Pressing Russia with sanctions and resisting Kremlin's propaganda," - Klimkin elaborated on Crimea's de-occupation startegy

Personal friends and what EU officials call the oligarch "cronies" of Russian leader Vladimir Putin also remain subject to sanctions. They include Arkady Rotenberg, Konstantin Malofeev, Yuriy Kovalchuk and Nikolay Shamalov.

On the Ukrainian side, former president Viktor Yanukovych and former PM Mykola Azarov are both subject to sanctions.

EU Council lawyers are currently drafting the legal paperwork for the extensions. The formal decision is to be taken without further discussion by EU interior ministers meeting in Brussels on 4 March.
 
 
 
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