EU sanctions 8 for enforcing Russian law in annexed Crimea

Ahead of a major summit between Ukraine and the European Union on Tuesday, the 27-member bloc imposed sanctions targeting eight law enforcement officials for enforcing Russian law in annexed Crimea.

The European Council, which oversees the political direction of the union, said in a statement that it decided Monday to impose the sanctions on judges, prosecutors and security officers for supporting Russian policies that threaten Ukraine’s sovereignty.

“Those individuals have taken biased decisions in politically motivated cases, and prosecuted or oppressed opponents of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol,” the council said.

The European Union has sanctioned 185 people and 48 entities concerning the annexing of Crimea from Ukraine in March of 2017, freezing their assets and banning them from traveling through the EU.

“The European Union does not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, and continues to condemn the Russian violation of international law,” the council said Monday. “Moreover, the EU remains unwavering in its support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

Western allies including the United States have also imposed punitive measures against Russia over its annexation of Crimea over the years.

The EU sanctions were imposed ahead of Tuesday’s 23rd EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv that the council said will reaffirm the commitment to integrate Ukraine into the European Union.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told Radio Free Europe that the council will continue to apply pressure against Russia over its annexation.

“The European Union, together with our like-minded partners, will continue to speak up and hold the Russian government accountable when violating international law and failing to adhere to its international obligations and commitments,” he said.

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