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Russia expands targeted sanctions against Ukraine

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (en.Kremlin.ru/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has expanded Russia’s targeted sanctions against Ukrainian individuals and legal entities.

Medvedev posted on Twitter on December 25 that he had signed the decree expanding the list of sanctions targets to “defend the interests of the Russian state, companies, and citizens of Russia.”

Some 200 individuals and legal entities were added to the list.

On November 1, Russia imposed “special economic measures” against 322 Ukrainian individuals and 68 companies. The sanctions included freezing non-cash accounts and other assets in Russia and a ban on capital transfers from Russia.

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Among the individuals on the original list were Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, Security Service chief Vasyl Hrytsak, former prime ministers Yulia Tymoshenko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev, and former Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh.

The list is based on an October 22 decree by President Vladimir Putin. Putin said at the time that the punitive measures could be canceled if Ukraine lifts all restrictions it has imposed against Russian citizens and companies.

Kyiv took measures against Russian citizens and companies following Moscow’s 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea and in response to Moscow military, political, and economic support of separatist formations in eastern Ukraine.

Some 10,300 people have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine since early 2014. Although Moscow denies interfering in Ukraine’s domestic affairs, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in November 2016 ruled that the fighting in eastern Ukraine is “an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.”

The European Union and the United States have also imposed sanctions against Moscow over its involvement in Ukraine.