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Ukraine: Putin signs Crimea annexation

President Vladimir Putin has signed a law formalising Russia’s takeover of Crimea from Ukraine, despite fresh sanctions from the EU and the US.

The European Union’s latest measures target 12 people involved in Russia’s annexation of the peninsula.

Earlier on Friday Ukraine and the EU signed an accord forging closer political ties.

European leaders also said they would step up efforts to reduce energy dependency on Russia.

The EU’s new sanctions add to an existing list of 21 officials affected by travel bans and asset freezes.

They include Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and two close aides of Vladimir Putin, Sergey Glazyev and Vladislav Surkov.

Continue reading the main story

Crisis timeline

  • 21 Nov 2013: President Viktor Yanukovych abandons an EU deal
  • Dec: Pro-EU protesters occupy Kiev city hall and Independence Square
  • 20-21 Feb 2014: At least 88 people killed in Kiev clashes
  • 22 Feb: Mr Yanukovych flees; parliament removes him and calls election
  • 27-28 Feb: Pro-Russian gunmen seize key buildings in Crimea. Parliament, under siege, appoints pro-Moscow Sergei Aksyonov a PM
  • 6 Mar: Crimea’s parliament votes to join Russia
  • 16 Mar: Crimea voters choose to secede in disputed referendum
  • 17 Mar: Crimean parliament declares independence and formally applies to join Russia
  • 18 Mar: Russian and Crimean leaders sign deal in Moscow to join the region to Russia

The speakers of Russia’s two houses of parliament, Valentina Matviyenko and Sergei Naryshkin – both at Mr Putin’s side as he signed the Crimea law – are also included.

While the list targets several figures close to the Russian president, it does not hit his inner circle as hard as the sanctions announced by the US on Thursday.

Shares fell sharply in Moscow on Friday as investors assessed the impact of Western sanctions on Russia’s economy.

Two credit rating agencies have now downgraded Russia’s outlook from stable to negative.

The accord signed by the EU and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Brussels on Friday contains the political part of the EU Association Agreement rejected in November by Viktor Yanukovych, who was then Ukraine’s president.

That decision triggered violent protests, Mr Yanukovych’s eventual overthrow and Russia’s subsequent move into Crimea.

In a separate development on Friday, Ukrainian police detained the head of the Naftogaz state energy firm, Yevhen Bakulin.

He is accused of embezzling $4bn (£2.4bn) during Mr Yanukovych’s time in power.

Officials investigating corruption at Ukraine’s agriculture ministry are reported to have seized tens of thousands of dollars in cash.

Map of Crimea

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