MOSCOW (AFP) - The United States and European Union fired off a new round of sanctions this week against Russian firms and individuals seen as key players in the Ukraine crisis.
The European Union said Tuesday it had added 16 people to its blacklist, taking the total to 48, some of whom have also been targeted by the United States.
While the sanctions do not directly impact President Vladimir Putin, some of the blacklisted officials, such as Igor Sechin, who was targeted by the United States Monday, are seen as members of Putin's inner circle and instrumental to his regime.
Igor Sechin (US sanctions list): one of Putin's most conservative lieutenants and his right-hand man on energy issues. He served as deputy head of Putin's presidential staff between 1999 and 2008 and as deputy prime minister during Putin's premiership between 2008 and 2012. He is currently the president of state oil company Rosneft.
Former head of Yukos oil company Mikhail Khodorkovsky - who spent a decade in prison and now lives in self-imposed exile in Switzerland - accuses Sechin of being behind his second jail term and the dismantlement of Yukos assets. And the founder of Russia's most popular social network, Pavel Durov, accuses him of instrumenting a takeover of his VKontakte company.
Sechin is widely rumoured to have been a KGB resident spy in the 1980s and almost never gives interviews.
Sergei Chemezov (US): the CEO of Russian Technologies (Rostec) corporation, created in 2007 to consolidate management of Russian industry. The firm now controls or has stakes in hundreds of companies, including in the military-industrial sector. Rostec now fully controls Russia's arms exporter Rosoboronexport, where Chemezov worked from 2000 and was CEO from 2004 to 2007.
Chemezov has reportedly known Putin since the 1980s, when the two met in East Germany.
Vyacheslav Volodin (US): the first deputy chief of staff in the Kremlin, working under Sergei Ivanov, who was targeted in the previous round of sanctions. He was influential in Putin's campaign for a third presidential term and is widely blamed for the Kremlin's crackdown on the opposition and foreign-funded organisations. He is seen as the architect of conservative and anti-Western policies adopted by Moscow in the last two years.
Alexei Pushkov (US): head of the international affairs committee of the Duma lower house of parliament, a lawmaker for the pro-Kremlin United Russia party. He is a frequent commentator in media and on Twitter, hosts his own television show and is known for his virulently conservative and anti-Western views.
Dmitry Kozak (US/EU): deputy prime minister. Formerly the point-man on the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, he now heads Moscow's efforts to develop the Crimean peninsula, annexed in March after a controversial referendum. He worked in Saint Petersburg city hall at the same time as Putin in the 1990s and has worked with him in the federal government since 1999.
Yevgeny Murov (US): head of the Federal Guard Service (FSO), a secretive security agency that is Russia's equivalent of the US secret service. The FSO provides personal protection to Putin and other top officials. Murov has headed the agency since 2000, appointed by Putin shortly after he became president.
Oleg Belaventsev (US/EU): Belaventsev was appointed by Putin in March to be his representative in the Crimean federal district formed by Moscow after the annexation of the peninsula. Belaventsev was little known before his appointment, heading a defence ministry-owned enterprise after a career in the armed forces.
Sergei Neverov and Lyudmila Shvetsova (EU): top officials in the majority United Russia party and deputy speakers of the Russian Duma. Both were outspoken supporters of annexing Crimea and the referendum in March. Neverov recently won a libel case against opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who published allegations that he owned vast undeclared land holdings.
Igor Strelkov (EU): one of six people in eastern Ukraine sanctioned by the EU on Tuesday. He is identified as an organiser of separatists in the region in recent weeks. Ukraine's security service has alleged he is an officer with Russian military intelligence and an assistant to Crimea's acting governor Sergei Aksyonov. Strelkov has denied his Russian military affiliation to the press but has been accused of involvement in violent incidents in the city of Slavyansk, including taking a group of OSCE monitors hostage.