The European Union on Friday imposed sanctions on three Russian nationals and three companies after gas turbines sold by Germany's Siemens were diverted to Ukraine's Russian-annexed Crimea region.
Brussels has pursued a strict policy of refusing to recognize Moscow's annexation of the peninsula, with a total of 153 people and 40 firms now targeted by sanctions on behalf of the 28-member bloc.
The people affected by the latest round of punitive measures include Russian Deputy Energy Minister Andrey Cherezov and department head Evgeny Grabchak. They will be subject to an asset freeze and a travel ban.
"The EU has added three Russian nationals and three companies involved in the transfer of gas turbines to Crimea to the list of persons subject to restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence," a statement from the European Commission said.
It added that setting up an independent power supply for Crimea only supported its separation from Ukraine, with gas turbines being a substantial element in the development of new power plants.
Siemens said last month it was in the process of scaling back its Russia operations after finding out that four turbines had illegally been modified and moved to Crimea.
Moscow reacted angrily Friday to the new EU sanctions, calling them "hostile and groundless." The Russian Foreign Ministry said: "We reserve the right to take retaliatory measures." It insisted the sanctions were imposed over a business disagreement that had been "politicized to an absurd degree."
hg/jd (Reuters, AFP)