|Russian fag flying on Ukrainian parliament building|
The EU and the US imposed travel bans and asset freezes on a score of officials from Russia and Ukraine on Monday as Crimea declared independence following a referendum.
Washington has targeted some of President Vladimir Putin’s closest advisers and other top Russian policy makers under an executive order signed by President Barack Obama.
The seven people on the US sanctions list include Vladislav Surkov and Sergei Glaziev, two aides to Mr Putin, Dimitri Rogozin, deputy prime minister, and Valentina Matviyenko, the head of the Federation Council, or upper house of parliament. Washington has also slapped sanctions on Sergey Aksyonov, the new pro-Russian prime minister of Crimea, and Vladimir Konstantinov, the speaker of the Crimean parliament.
The White House said its “current focus” was on targeting particular individuals and their personal assets “but not companies that they may manage on behalf of the Russian state”.
The EU said it was taking measures against 21 people including 13 Russians, but did not release the names. Officials said those hit by European sanctions would also include people from Russia’s parliament and armed forces but not Mr Putin’s immediate circle.
“We were hoping for Russia to de-escalate but instead the annexation is proceeding. We need to show solidarity with Ukraine – therefore Russia leaves us no choice [but to impose sanctions],” said Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland’s foreign minister.
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