The European Union will penalize six people for their involvement in the construction of a bridge which connects Russia to the disputed territory of Crimea, Ukraine.
The bloc is expected to place sanctions on the as-yet-unnamed six for their role in construction of the bridge across the Kerch Strait, which Ukraine maintains is illegal.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Wednesday he had received word of the incoming sanctions, which will join a larger blacklist imposed by the EU as a response to the crisis in Ukraine.
“Good news from Brussels! In the development of our agreements at the Ukraine-EU summit, the ambassadors of the EU member states have decided to impose individual sanctions against six people involved in the illegal construction of the Kerch bridge,” Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page.
The president said imposing the personal sanctions “testifies to the inevitability of punishment for any individual or legal entity who had, have or will have to do with actions related to the attempt of annexation and temporary occupation of the Ukrainian Crimea.”
The Crimea Bridge opened last month and consists of a pair of parallel bridges constructed by the Russian Federation to span the Strait of Kerch between the Taman Peninsula in Russia and the Kerch Peninsula of Crimea. At 18.1 kilometres the bridge is the longest in both Russia and Europe.
The EU has progressively imposed restrictive measures against Russia since it annexed Crimea in March 2014. The EU said the measures were “adopted in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the deliberate destabilization of Ukraine.”
The sanctioned six involved in the Crimea Bridge project join 155 people and 38 entities subject to an asset freeze and a travel ban from the EU because their actions were deemed to have “undermined Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.” The names of the six will be announced once the decision is officially announced.
Completion of the rail link on the Crimea Bridge is expected for completion in early 2019.