Russia expands economic sanctions on Ukraine
Hundreds of people and dozens of Ukrainian companies added to Russian asset-freeze blacklist
Russia on Tuesday expanded its economic sanctions on Ukraine, adding more than 250 people and businesses to a blacklist first announced at the start of November.
According to a decree by Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, 245 people and seven companies, mostly in the energy and defence sectors, were sanctioned by Moscow.
Relations between Moscow and Kiev deteriorated since a pro-Western government came to power after the 2014 revolt against a pro-Russian leader, Moscow's annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of war in eastern Ukraine.
Just under 560 people and 75 Ukrainian companies now face a freeze on any assets they have in Russia.
On his Twitter account, Mr Medvedev said the sanctions were "to defend the interests of the Russian government, businesses and people".
Tensions between the two neighbours worsened since November when Russia's coastguard captured three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews off the Crimean coast.
Among those sanctioned on Tuesday were Ukrainian defence, energy, insurance and logistics companies as well as Odessa's mayor and other high-ranking Ukraine officials.
Since the outbreak of the Ukraine war, Kiev has taken a series of measures against Russian interests, including blocking Russian internet services and social media.
The conflict pitting pro-Russian separatists against Ukrainian government forces is estimated to have claimed more than 10,000 lives — one third of them civilian — since it broke out four years ago.
Updated: December 26, 2018 08:40 AM