EU extends travel bans, asset freezes on Russia
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union extended on Wednesday part of its sanctions against Russia over Moscow's annexation of Crimea and its role in the crisis in Ukraine, diplomats said.
The EU's travel bans and asset freezes, which were due to expire on Sept. 15, were extended for six months and cover some 150 people and 37 entities involved in the turmoil in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
Rebels as well as some Russian officials, lawmakers and oligarchs are on the EU list, as are two celebrities who have given vocal support to separatists in east Ukraine.
The sanctions also target Russia's Almaz-Antey, a maker of air defense systems, and several enterprises in Crimea that were taken over by the new Russian authorities after Moscow annexed the Black Sea peninsula in March, 2014.
Following the travel bans and asset freezes, the bloc stepped up sanctions in July 2014, as unrest spread to eastern Ukraine where Russian-backed militias took up arms against Kiev troops.
The conflict has killed more than 9,500 people and diplomatic efforts led by France and Germany have yet to resolve it.
The EU's main economic sanctions against Moscow, which in 2015 aggravated Russia's economic problems triggered by record-low oil prices, are in place until the end of January, 2017.
(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, editing by Robin Emmott)
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