European External Action Service

03/15/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/15/2019 03:43

Ukraine: EU responds to escalation at the Kerch Straits and the Azov Sea, and renews sanctions over actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity

The Council today added eight Russian officials to the list of those subject to restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. These new listings have been adopted by the Council as a response to escalation in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov and the violations of international law by Russia, which used military force with no justification.

The officials sanctioned include the head and deputy head of the border directorate of Russian federal security service for the Republic of Crimea and City of Sevastopol, three commanding officers of Russian border patrol boats and an anti-submarine ship which actively participated in actions that prevented Ukrainian vessels from accessing their coastline on the Sea of Azov, two heads of service of Russian control points, and a Russian armed forces commander responsible for military forces in the region, including the illegally annexed Crimea and Sevastopol.

The Council also extended the validity of these restrictive measures for a further 6 months, until 15 September 2019. The Council removed one deceased person from the list. The measures now apply to a total of 170 persons and 44 entities. They consist of a travel ban and an asset freeze. EU operators are also forbidden from making funds available to the listed individuals and entities.

As stated by the European Council on 13 December, the EU requests the immediate release of all detained Ukrainian seamen as well as the return of the seized vessels and free passage of all ships through the Kerch Strait. It reaffirms its commitment to international law, the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine and the EU's policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea.

The legal acts were adopted by the Council by written procedure. They are available in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Other EU measures in place in response to the crisis in Ukraine include:

  • economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy, currently in place until 31 July 2019;
  • restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, currently in place until 23 June 2019.