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EU prolongs until September blacklist of Russians over Ukraine crisis

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union has prolonged for six months until Sept. 15 a blacklist of Russian and Crimean individuals and firms accused of undermining Ukraine's integrity and independence, an EU statement said on Monday.

"The assessment of the situation did not justify a change in the sanctions regime," the statement said. The sanctions were introduced in March 2014 following Russia's annexation of Crimea and its involvement in the revolt in eastern Ukraine.

The list includes advisers and aides of President Vladimir Putin, parliamentarians, defense and intelligence officials, army and navy commanders, as well as Crimean separatists and rebels in east Ukraine.

Two people were removed from the list because they have recently died, the statement said. The updated list covers 150 persons and 37 companies which remain subject to visa bans and an asset freeze in the EU.

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(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)