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3 long-time Putin cronies hit with EU sanctions

Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

BRUSSELS (AP) — An official European Union document shows three long-time Putin cronies are among eight people who have been hit with new EU sanctions.

The European Union measures announced Wednesday were the first to target members of the Russian president’s inner circle for Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

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Among those sanctioned are Arkady Rotenberg, Putin’s former judo sparring partner and a major shareholder of Giprotransmost, which received a public contract to conduct a study on building a bridge from Russia to Crimea, which Russia annexed unilaterally in April.

Also targeted by the EU is Yuri Kovalchuk, a longtime Putin acquaintance identified by the EU as co-founder of a cooperative society bringing together influential individuals around Russia’s President. He is the chairman of Bank Rossiya, which has opened branches in Crimea since its annexation.

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