Meanwhile, in what was seen a possible slight de-escalation in tensions, Russia accepted a plan to send an international fact-finding team of at least 100 members into Ukraine to assess security in the country.
For more than a week, Russia had stonewalled the push by other members of the 57-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to send in monitors. OSCE hopes the mission will prevent an escalation of tensions in Ukraine’s east and south — regions with large Russian-speaking populations.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, visiting Ukraine’s capital, urged talks between Kiev and Moscow.
“At times like this, it is vital that all parties refrain from any provocative actions that could exacerbate an already very tense and very volatile situation,” he said.
The EU hit 12 more people with sanctions Friday over Russia’s annexation of Crimea, bringing its list of those facing visa bans and asset freezes to 33. They include one of Russia’s deputy prime ministers, a Putin adviser and the speaker of Russia’s upper house of Parliament, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.
Annexing Crimea “is a flagrant breach of international law and something we will not recognize. This behavior belongs to the Europe of the last century not this one,” Cameron said.
Still, the EU roster fell short of the high-powered U.S. list, in an apparent reflection of European wariness of going as far as Washington to punish Russia — Europe’s neighbor, energy supplier and trade partner.
President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered a second round of sanctions against 20 members of Putin’s inner circle and a major bank supporting them. The list included four businessmen considered to be Putin’s lifelong friends.
Moscow retaliated by banning nine U.S. officials and lawmakers from entering Russia.