BRUSSELS, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- The European Union agreed Wednesday to extend sanctions against Russian firms and individuals in order to maintain pressure on Moscow to do its part to end fighting in Ukraine.
The decision was made at a meeting of EU ambassadors and is due to be considered by ministers in mid-September, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The travel ban and freeze on assets were due to expire Sept. 15. Wednesday's decision would extend the sanctions to March 15.
The restrictions target 150 people, including senior Russian advisers, leaders and pro-Russian Ukrainian leaders. Also on the list are 37 firms and other entities, including 13 that were confiscated by Moscow during Russia's annexation of Crimea or which benefited from that move.
Among the people on the EU sanctions list are Igor Sechin and Vladislav Surkov, advisers to President Vladimir Putin, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Russian parliament members. Crimea's Prime Minister Sergei Aksionov and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov are also on the list, EU Observer reported.
In late July, the Obama administration imposed additional sanctions against Russian entities and individuals within the inner circle of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The Treasury Department on Wednesday also levied additional sanctions on people working with Russia's defense sector.
In a visit to Brussels last week, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko urged the bloc extend the sanctions, and accused Russia and the pro-Kremlin separatists of repeatedly violating the cease-fire.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told students of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, "We are paying attention to sanctions only from the stance that we, inside our country, would be ready for all such twists of our Western partners, to be independent from them in the spheres, which are vitally important for our country, for our citizens."