BRUSSELS (AP) â€” The European Union has released the names of 15 new targets of sanctions because of their roles in the Ukraine crisis.
The list released Tuesday includes Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian General Staff, and Lt. Gen. Igor Sergun, identified as head of GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and pro-Russian separatist leaders in Crimea and the eastern Ukrainian cities of Lugansk and Donetsk were also on the list.
The decision taken by the EU governments’ ambassadors in Brussels brings the total number of Russians or pro-Russian individuals in Ukraine targeted by the EU’s sanctions to 48.
The initial sanctions were adopted following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula last month. The EU and the U.S. now also accuse Russia of destabilizing eastern Ukraine. NATO says Moscow has amassed some 40,000 troops just across the Ukrainian border and could invade the country within days if it wanted to.
The EU move comes after the U.S. decided to broaden its own sanctions to include seven Russian government officials and 17 companies with links to President Vladimir Putin.
The EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner, giving it greater economic leverage over Moscow than the U.S. However, the EU treads more carefully in imposing sanctions since Russia is also one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers â€” and the bloc apparently shied away from following Washington’s lead in targeting specific Russian companies.
EU leaders have threatened Russia with tougher economic sanctions, for example targeting its financial industry or the energy sector, if the situation in eastern Ukraine further escalates, but those sanctions are not yet being considered.