Mediators seized in Ukraine as U.S. readies new Russia sanctions

Mediators seized in Ukraine as U.S. readies new Russia sanctions

PanARMENIAN.Net - The United States and the European Union are expected on Monday, April 28 to impose new sanctions on Russian individuals, sources said on Friday, as the Ukraine crisis escalated with armed pro-Russia activists seizing a bus carrying international mediators, according to Reuters.

The Pentagon said Russian aircraft breached Ukraine's airspace several times over the past 24 hours, but did not offer more details. Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren called on Russia to "take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation."

The activist self-declared mayor of the east Ukraine city of Slaviansk told Reuters the mediators were being held because they were believed to have a spy amongst them from the pro-Western government in Kiev.

"People who come here as observers bringing with them a real spy: it's not appropriate," Vyacheslav Ponomaryov said in front of a security service building occupied by activists where the Ukrainian government said the observers were being detained.

The fresh U.S. and EU sanctions come in response to Russia's alleged efforts to destabilize eastern Ukraine, said sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The EU is expected to name 15 previously unidentified individuals to be placed under sanctions and would focus on those it thinks are responsible for the unrest in Ukraine, the sources said.

The United States is expected to impose sanctions on entities and individuals, including "cronies" of Russian President Vladimir Putin, they said.

The sources said the one thing that might prevent the EU and the United States from moving ahead with the sanctions on Monday would be a sudden reversal of what they say is Russian-sponsored movements in eastern Ukraine.

"You will find a European list much more connected to actions on the ground, and an American list more focused on cronies and entities," said one of the sources, adding that some EU nations remain concerned about placing sanctions on Putin associates.

Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images
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