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US, Europe slap sanctions on Russian, Ukrainian officials

Published on Mar 17, 2014 9:38 PM
 
Ukrainians living in Belgium hold Ukrainian flags and chant slogans against Russian President Vladimir Putin during a protest against Russia's incursion into Crimea, outside a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels March 17, 2014. The European Union is to impose sanctions including asset freezes and travel bans on 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine after Crimea applied to join Russia on Monday, March 17, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States and Europe targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle on Monday, slapping sanctions on senior officials to pressure the Kremlin to abandon moves to annex Crimea.

The move came after the breakaway Ukrainian region voted to join Russia, in a referendum Kiev and the West deems illegitimate – and embarked on the next steps to formally embrace Kremlin rule.

“We have been guided by a fundamental principle,” US President Barack Obama said at the White House on Monday, a day after his latest call to his Russian counterpart Putin fell on deaf ears.

“The future of Ukraine must be decided by the people of Ukraine. That means Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected and international law must be upheld.”

 
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