On 15 March, the Council of the European Union added eight Russian officials to the list of those subject to restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
It says that the listings ‘have been adopted by the Council as a response to escalation in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov and the violations of international law by Russia, which used military force with no justification.’
It said that the officials sanctioned ‘include the head and deputy head of the border directorate of Russian federal security service for the Republic of Crimea and City of Sevastopol, three commanding officers of Russian border patrol boats and an anti-submarine ship which actively participated in actions that prevented Ukrainian vessels from accessing their coastline on the Sea of Azov, two heads of service of Russian control points, and a Russian armed forces commander responsible for military forces in the region, including the illegally annexed Crimea and Sevastopol.’
It added: ‘As stated by the European Council on 13 December, the EU requests the immediate release of all detained Ukrainian seamen as well as the return of the seized vessels and free passage of all ships through the Kerch Strait. It reaffirms its commitment to international law, the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine and the EU’s policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea.’