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EU keeps up sanctions over Crimea conflict

EU KEEPS UP SANCTIONS OVER CRIMEA CONFLICT

The European Union on Thursday prolonged restrictive measures on several Russian nationals and entities, including asset freezes and travel bans, until March 15 next year over the Ukraine crisis.

The EU Council said the rule was made "over actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine".

These sanctions now apply to a total of 149 people and 38 entities. The measures were first introduced in March 2014 and were last extended in March 2017 until Sept. 15 this year.

Russia's illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014 led Western powers, including the U.S., to impose sanctions against Moscow.

Along with the UN General Assembly, the U.S., the EU, and Turkey also do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.

Since the annexation, Ukraine has been wracked by conflict in its eastern regions with Russian-backed separatists, leading to more than 10,000 deaths, according to the UN.

A report released earlier this week by UN monitors said civilians living near lines of contact between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists were facing hardship.

The UN Human Rights Office says it will issue a report later this month on the human rights situation in Crimea, as mandated by the UN General Assembly.

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