Thirteen Russians and eight Crimeans have been hit by asset freezes and travel bans after EU foreign ministers agreed on sanctions against the political and military figures at a meeting in Brussels.
Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said: “We decided today to introduce additional measures: most specifically, restrictive measures against 21 individuals responsible for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”
EU foreign ministers gathered on Monday in the wake of a Crimea referendum they describe as “unlawful”.
Unlike the US, the EU has not imposed sanctions on any top Kremlin officials, but this has not been ruled out, according to British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
“It is possible to a add to these measures of course. This is not a list that is set in the stone for the future. It is possible to add other figures in the future, depending on how Russia reacts,” Hague told reporters.
Ukrainian officials have expressed impatience with the EU for not getting tough enough on Russia. Nevertheless, EU leaders plan on signing the political part of the Association Agreement with Ukraine on Friday.
From inside the European Council, euronews Brussels correspondent James Franey said: ‘Everything now hangs on moscow’s next move: recognise Crimea as part of Russia, EU diplomats say, and it will face much tougher economic and financial sanctions. EU leaders will be back here on Thursday, to discuss how far reaching those measures will be.”