European Union adds 15 names to Ukraine sanctions list

LONDON — Following the imposition of new sanctions against Russia by the Obama administration, the European Union added 15 names Tuesday to its own list of figures close to the Kremlin, including senior military and political officials, and pro-Russian militants in Ukraine, who will now be subject to asset freezes and travel bans.

Russia called the measures “unfriendly,” and the expanded sanctions seemed to have little deterrent effect on pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine. Militants stormed the regional government headquarters in the city of Luhansk on Tuesday, adding to a string of similar recent takeovers, including the security headquarters in Luhansk a few weeks ago.

In television coverage of the most recent events in Luhansk, separatists were seen surrounding the government headquarters and shouting “Get out,” “Junta away,” and “Russia,” and then knocking out windows to enter. They met no opposition from the police. A loud explosion was heard and an ambulance appeared, but it was not immediately clear whether any people had been injured. A crowd of about 2,000 people gathered in the square outside, with some waving Russian or separatist flags.


“The regional leadership does not control its police force,” Stanislav Rechynsky, an aide to Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, was quoted by Reuters as saying. “The local police did nothing.”

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The Western sanctions, initially designed to punish Russia for its annexation of Crimea, reflected deepening concern about instability in eastern Ukraine, where the actions of pro-Russian separatists have underscored the increasing ineffectiveness of the interim government in Kiev, the capital.

On Monday, the United States expanded its list of targets for sanctions, concentrating on the holdings of four wealthy associates of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and including banks, energy companies, investment accounts, and other entities controlled by the four men.

On Tuesday, the 28-nation European Union said its measures would affect officials including Dmitri N. Kozak, a deputy prime minister; and Lyudmila I. Shvetsova, a senior figure in the State Duma, the lower house of Parliament. The list also included General Valery V. Gerasimov, the chief of staff of the Russian military, along with Lieutenant General Igor Sergun, identified as the head of the Kremlin’s military intelligence agency, the GRU.

Pro-Russian militants who have led the assault on government facilities Luhansk and Donetsk were also on the list.


The latest additions brought the number of people on the European list to 48.

The Russian Foreign Ministry responded 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.

Moscow has massed tens of thousands of troops close to Ukraine, ostensibly on training maneuvers, raising fears among Ukrainians that Russian troops are in position to move swiftly across the border — an act that the interim government in Kiev says would be treated as an invasion.

In addition to the entities affected by the American measures, the Obama administration on Monday imposed sanctions on seven prominent Russians, including two longtime Putin advisers: Igor I. Sechin, the president of the state-owned oil company Rosneft; and Sergei V. Chemezov, the director general of Rostec, the state corporation overseeing high-technology industries.