In their resolution, the European Parliament was also unequivocal in its call for the adoption of a European "Magnitsky Act" similar to the legislation adopted by the United States in 2012 and meant to punish Russian officials responsible for the death of Russian tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow prison in 2009.
As stated by the European Council on 13 December, the EU requests the immediate release of all detained Ukrainian seamen as well as the return of the seized vessels and free passage of all ships through the Kerch Strait.
In the more than five years after Moscow invaded and illegally annexed neighbouring Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula, relations between the European Union and Russian Federation have soured to the point that the two sides, along with the rest of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance and the Kremlin's hodgepodge of equally anti-Western allies, are now deeply involved in a second Cold War.
The relationship between Ukraine and Russia has grown ever more tense since protests drove Ukraine's Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovych from office in 2014. The 24 Ukrainian sailors are still being held by Moscow.
Today, on March 15, it was officially announced about the freeze of the accounts and ban for the issuance of the visa to eight Russian officials.
Six officials were targeted, along with six Russian defense companies, and two Russian energy and construction firms operating in Crimea.
Four of the individuals are border guard or coast guard officials, singled out for their role in a November 25, 2018 naval confrontation, in which Russian ships fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels in the narrow Kerch Strait the two countries share.
Washington also cited the Russian seizure of the Ukrainian vessels and crew in announcing its new sanctions.
European Union sanctions target eight senior Russian security personnel and military officers responsible for detaining three Ukrainian vessels in disputed waters off the coast of Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.
"The United States and our transatlantic partners will not allow Russia's continued aggression against Ukraine to go unchecked", Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was quoted as saying.
"This joint initiative with our partners in the European Union and Canada reinforces our shared commitment to impose targeted and meaningful sanctions in response to the Kremlin's attempts to disregard global norms and undermine Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity", said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.