EU Extends Sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

The European Union decided on Thursday to extend sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian individuals who undermined the independence of Ukraine for another six months, a statement for the EU Council said according to Reuters.

The measures consist of asset freezes and travel restrictions for 155 persons and 44 companies.

“An assessment of the situation did not justify a change in the sanctions regime,” the statement said.

The EU imposed sanctions on Russia after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, and refuses to recognize Moscow’s authority there. Some Crimea officials are also on the list.

The bloc has a set of separate measures targeting the Russian economy. They remain in place until at least January 31, after the European Union’s general court upheld on Thursday the measures against Russian banks and oil and gas companies.

Rosneft, Sberbank, VTB Bank, Gazprom Neft, Vnesheconombank, Prominvestbank and DenizBank challenged the EU sanctions, which restrict their access to some financial transactions and certain sensitive goods and technologies, as well as to the capital markets in the EU and prohibit the provision of services required for certain oil transactions.

“The General Court of the EU upholds restrictive measures adopted by the Council against a number of Russian banks and oil and gas companies in connection with the crisis in Ukraine,” the court said in a statement.