EU Imposes Sanctions on Russia over Crimea

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - European Union foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions against 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials deemed responsible for a contested independence referendum in Crimea, officials said.

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Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said in a tweet on Monday that the 21 would be targeted by travel bans and asset freezes, with "more EU measures in few days".

Leaders of the 28-nation bloc are to hold summit talks in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, with the crisis in Ukraine expected to top the agenda.

The list of those sanctioned by the ministers will be released in the EU's daily Official Journal, but diplomats said 13 were from Russia and 8 from Ukraine's Crimea region, Al Jazeera reported.

They were targeted "for undermining the sovereignty of Ukraine".

The ministers met after a referendum on Sunday showed an overwhelming majority in Crimea in favour of joining Russia, a vote the EU condemned as illegal and in violation of Moscow's own international commitments to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Crimea's regional assembly declared independence from Ukraine after the referendum, and applied to join Russia, saying all Ukrainian state property on the peninsula would be nationalised.

"The republic of Crimea appeals to the United Nations and to all countries of the world to recognise it as an independent state," read a document approved on Monday by the assembly.

It followed the announcement by introducing the Russian ruble as a second currency alongside the Ukrainian hyyvnia.

Meanwhile in Kiev, Ukraine's parliament approved the partial mobilisation of troops to counter "Russian interference" in the country.

A majority of deputies approved the motion, citing "the worsening political situation in the country... and Russia's interference in Ukraine's internal affairs".

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