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BRUSSELS, May 12. /ITAR-TASS/. The EU Council has refused to recognize the referendum in south-eastern Ukraine and expanded sanctions against Russia, reads a final statement on Ukraine issued by the Council of the European Union after the meeting of 28 ministers of foreign affairs representing the 28 member states on Monday.
“The Council has decided to add a new group of individuals and entities to the list of persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures,” the document emphasizes.
Earlier, a diplomatic source reported that another 13 Russian individuals and 2 Crimea-based companies were added to EU's black list.
“In light of the recent developments and in the absence of any steps towards de-escalation the Council has agreed to expand the criteria allowing individuals and entities to be subject to visa ban and asset freeze,” the statement says.
According to the statement, this will allow imposing sanctions on individuals and organizations “responsible for actively supporting or implementing actions or policies which undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”, as well as on “legal persons, entities or bodies in Crimea or Sevastopol whose ownership has been transferred contrary to Ukrainian law”.
In addition, the Council of the European Union urged to carry out a thorough investigation of the tragic events in Odessa of May 2. “The tragic events in Odessa of 2 May with many dead and injured must be thoroughly investigated and all those responsible brought to justice.”
The Council has also urged to involve in the investigation the Council of Europe's International Advisory Panel “as a way to ensure its independence and transparency”.
“The Council lends its support to a swift convening of a next meeting at ministerial level in the Geneva format in order to ensure full implementation of the (April 17) Statement with the assistance of the OSCE,” the statement notes.
The Council of the EU has urged all parties to implement the reached agreements. The Council has also reiterated its demand to Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine’s border.
"The EU strongly supports the holding of free and fair Ukrainian Presidential elections on 25 May, and calls on all parties to do so, in order to overcome the crisis and allow the Ukrainian people to choose their own future," the statement says. EU ministers of foreign affairs have urged to ensure safe and secure conditions for presidential nominees to campaign and said that "voters should be unimpeded in preparing for the elections".
The final statement also fully supports OSCE’s actions in sending a thousand observers to the presidential elections in Ukraine.
In this regard, the European foreign ministers demanded from Kiev to “fully ensure the rights of persons belonging to national minorities in line with the relevant standards of the Council of Europe”.
In the course of this action, clashes with Ukraine’s federalization supporters began. The radicals set on fire the regional House of trade unions and the tent camp on the Kulikovo Field square, where signatures were being collected for holding a referendum on Ukraine’s federalization and the status of Russian language.
According to official data, 46 people died and 48 people are reported missing. Many Ukrainian politicians, including lawmaker Oleh Tsariov and member of Odessa Regional Council Vadim Savenko, believe these figures are understated. They claim that there are about 116 casualties, and the authorities are keeping it back and trying to cover tracks of the tragedy.