US, EU slap new sanctions on Russian Federation over Ukraine

Canada imposes more sanctions on Russian individuals, companies over Ukraine

EU, Canada and US impose new sanctions on Russia

The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced Moscow will respond to fresh sanction action by the European Union.

These sanctions are "in response to Russia's military actions against three Ukrainian vessels and the capture of Ukrainian sailors in the Black Sea in November 2018" and "coordinated with the European Union and the United States", underscoring "continued transatlantic unity in responding to Russia's aggressive actions in Ukraine and its violation of worldwide law".

"Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation, in violation of worldwide law, based on an illegitimate referendum held five years ago today", according to a statement.

Four of the individuals are border guard or coastguard officials, singled out for their role in a November 25, 2018, naval confrontation, in which Russian ships fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels in the narrow Kerch Strait linking the Black and Azov seas near Crimea.

The EU's announcement coincided with the fifth anniversary of Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula and was coordinated with the United States and Canada.

The relationship between Ukraine and Russia has grown ever more tense since protests drove Ukraine's Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovych from office in 2014.

It said Moscow was acting "within the norms of global law" in arresting the Ukrainians.

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Six Russian officials, six defense firms and two energy and construction firms were targeted, either over the seizure of Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Straight, or for their activities in Russian-annexed Crimea or separatist eastern Ukraine, a US Treasury statement said.

In turn, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland has announced sanctions on 114 individuals and 15 entities, under the Special Economic Measures Act.

The US also imposed sanctions on two Ukrainian separatists for their support of "illegitimate separatist government elections".

"This joint initiative with our partners in the European Union and Canada reinforces our shared commitment to impose targeted and meaningful sanctions in response to the Kremlin's attempts to disregard worldwide norms and undermine Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity", he added.

European Union sanctions target eight senior Russian security personnel and military officers responsible for detaining three Ukrainian vessels in disputed waters off the coast of Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.

Some 13,000 people have been killed, a quarter of them civilians, and as many as 30,000 wounded in the war in eastern Ukraine since it broke out in April 2014, according to United Nations data.

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