EU extends sanctions on individuals over Ukraine to Sept
The European Union on Thursday extended by six months until September sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian individuals over the conflict in Ukraine, it said in a statement.
The blacklist of travel bans and asset freezes against nearly 150 people is in addition to sweeping economic sanctions against Russia's defence, financial and energy sectors that have infuriated President Vladimir Putin.
Member states "extended by six months EU restrictive measures against 146 people and 37 companies in view of the continuing undermining or threatening of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine," the statement said.
"Three deceased people were removed from the list of targets subject to the restrictive measures."
The sanctions are next up for renewal on September 15, it added.
EU ambassadors decided to extend the sanctions at a meeting on Wednesday and the decision was formally approved by interior ministers of the 28-nation bloc at a meeting in Brussels on Thursday.
A full list of names will be published by the EU on Saturday.
The last list approved in September included Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, targeted for backing Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in March 2014.
It also included Arkady Bakhin and Anatoli Antonov, the defence and deputy defence ministers.
Tycoon Arkady Rotenberg was meanwhile described as a "long-term acquaintance of President Putin and his former judo sparring partner" who has benefited from his close ties with the Kremlin strongman.
The European Union has persisted with the sanctions despite pressure from Russia and divisions within the bloc, saying that the terms of the Minsk ceasefire agreement to end the two-year-old Ukraine conflict have not been met.
© 2016 AFP