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EU sanctions 5 over Russia's annexation of Crimea

Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The European Union on Monday sanctioned five people involved in Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.

The European Council, which sets the 27-member block's political direction, said those elected Sept. 19 in the lower house State Duma to represent the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula and the city of Sevastopol are targeted with asset freezes and travel bans as well as the deputy head of the Sevastopol's electoral commission.

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"The European Union does not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and of the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, and continues to condemn the Russian violation of international law," the European Council said in a statement. "Moreover, the EU remains unwavering in its support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine."

The union has blacklisted 193 people and 48 entities who have deteriorated the territorial integrity of Ukraine, which the Kremlin annexed in the late winter of 2014 to the condemnation of Western nations.

Following the annexation, sanctions were imposed, and those same ally nations now fear a further Russian invasion of Ukraine may be imminent.

Russia has amassed more than 150,000 troops along the Ukrainian border, and U.S. officials have been warning that an invasion of the former Soviet Union nation could happen any day.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday deployed troops to two separatist regions of eastern Ukraine under new decrees recognizing them as independent republics.

Shortly after Putin signed the decrees, U.S. President Joe Biden and the EU responded with sanctions.

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