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EU's new sanctions target Putin inner circle

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union's new sanctions will hit the inner circle of President Vladimir Putin, including the deputy prime minister, a presidential adviser and the federation speaker, a document showed Friday.

Still, the list of individuals is not as high-powered as the one the United States is targeting.

EU leaders added 12 people to their existing list of 21 officials they are hitting with visa bans and asset freezes to punish Russia for its takeover of the Crimean Peninsula. It includes Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and three others who already made it onto a U.S. list of targets this week, a document obtained on Friday by The Associated Press showed.

It also has high ranking military officials, including two deputy Commanders of the Black Sea fleet, which is based on the Crimean Peninsula.

Russia has already hit back at the United States by announcing it would impose asset freezes on a number of high-ranking U.S. officials. But it has yet to take retaliatory action against the EU.

Beyond targeting officials linked to the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, the EU leaders also decided at their summit to prepare economic sanctions in case Russia expands its intervention beyond Crimea into eastern Ukraine. The EU leaders also scrapped a scheduled EU-Russia summit as part of the intensifying standoff over Ukraine, which has turned into one of the biggest political battlegrounds in Europe since the end of the Cold War.

Beyond punishing Russia, the EU leaders also showed backing for Ukraine, which lost Crimea to Moscow on Tuesday, by signing a political cooperation agreement.

EU President Herman Van Rompuy said that signing Friday's deal with Ukraine, “is a sign of our solidarity with the people of Ukraine, of our support for their aspirations and their thirst for change.”

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Vladimir Isachenkov contributed from Moscow.

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