Russia's President Vladimir Putin gestures as he speaks during a joint press conference with US President after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. The US and Russian leaders opened an historic summit in Helsinki, with Donald Trump promising an
Agence France-Presse

The European Union has imposed asset freezes on six Russian firms involved in the construction of a new road-and-rail bridge.

The bridge which links Russia to the annexed Crimean peninsula is said to be illegal.

Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 during an uprising which toppled Ukraine’s pro-Russian president.

The West condemned the move as an illegal annexation and imposed sanctions on Moscow.

The 3.6 billion dollars bridge across the Kerch strait, part of which was unveiled by Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in May, has drawn strong rebukes from the EU which says it is a further violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

The six companies cited in Tuesday’s statement from the Council of the European Union include construction firms PJSC Mostotrest and CJSC VAD.

“The firms will have their assets in the EU frozen and EU persons and entities will not be able to make funds available to them.

“Through their actions they supported the consolidation of Russia’s control over the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula, which in turn further undermines the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,” the council said.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Pavlo Klimkin, said he welcomed the additional sanctions.

“Important warning also for European businesses not to go down same slippery slope,” Klimkin wrote on Twitter.

The other companies targeted are engineering firms GPSM and Zaliv Shipyard, and construction groups SGM and Stroygazmontazh Most OOO.

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