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Russia’s deputy PM, two presidential aides added to EU black list

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, two presidential aides and two members of the Crimean administration are among the 12 Russian officials who were added to the European Union’s black list on Friday.

The decision made by EU leaders in Brussels bars them from entering the European Union as a retaliation for their support of Crimea’s push to withdraw from Ukraine and be reinstated as part of Russia.

The accounts of the blacklisted officials in European banks – if any are found – will also be frozen.

The EU’s new list is headlined by Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister in charge of the defense industry and former ambassador to NATO, who is followed by Vladimir Putin’s advisors, Sergey Glazyev and Vladislav Surkov.

The other Russians on the EU’s blacklist include the speakers of both upper and lower houses of the country’s parliament, Valentina Matvienko and Sergey Naryshkin, as well as State Duma deputy, Elena Mizulina, who is known for initiating the law banning gay propaganda to minors.

The European politicians also sanctioned three Russian military officials in the Crimea – the deputy commanders of the Black Sea Fleet, Aleksandr Nosatov and Valery Kulikov, as well as Colonel-General Igor Turchenyuk, who heads the Russian troops deployed in Crimea.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozhin (RIA Novosti/Aleksey Nikolskyi)

Two Crimean electoral officials, Mikhail Malyshev and Valery Medvedev, who organized a referendum, in which some 96 percent of the Crimea voted for reuniting with Russia, were also banned.

The list is completed by TV presenter and head of Rossiya Segodnya state news agency, Dmitry Kiselyov, who made a number of controversial comments on the events in Ukraine and Russia’s relations with the West.

The announcement brings the number of Russians citizens targeted by the EU travel ban and asset freezes to 33 people.

However, the blacklisted Russian officials didn’t seem to be too impressed by the European sanction.

“All these sanctions aren’t worth a grain of sand of the Crimean land that returned to Russia,” Rogozin wrote on his Twitter page.

Malyshev, who heads the Crimea’s Central Electoral Committee, said that “he didn’t plan to travel to the EU anytime soon.”

Valentina Matviyenko, head of the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) (RIA Novosti/Sergey Kuznecov)

The Russian Foreign Ministry has once again denounced the sanctions against these Russian citizens, calling them groundless and counterproductive.

“Sanctions and any restrictive measures are viewed by us as unlawful, illegal and illegitimate,” Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, told RIA-Novosti. “And, of course, they are clearly counterproductive in terms of building relations between Russia and the EU, and Russia and the United States in the case of US sanctions.”

The EU’s sanction announcement follows similar moves by the US on Thursday, which saw Obama’s administration blacklisting another 20 of Russia’s top officials and businessmen.

The EU and its top economy, Germany, are too closely connected with Russia to switch from banning individuals to actual economic sanctions, Daniel McAdams, executive director at the Ron Paul Institute, told RT.

“If there were any sanctions that would do physical economic harm they would boomerang because the world is interconnected,” he said. “The US trades less with Russia than Germany does. Germany is a very important partner to the East. Germany is already shouldering the burden of the EU that’s bankrupt. Although [Chancellor Angela] Merkel is making a lot of tough noises, can she really afford to destroy what's left of the German economy?”

“So I’ don’t think there’s much more they can do with these sanctions. That’s probably why you (Russia) seem to be mocking it a bit,”
McAdams added.

On Friday, the Crimea and Sevastopol, which chose to withdraw from Ukraine, officially joined Russia, with President Putin signing the finalizing decree.

Previously, Russian lawmakers ratified both the amendment and an international treaty with the Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which the sides signed in the Kremlin on March 18.