EU prolongs sanctions over meddling in Ukraine

The European Union has extended by six months sanctions against senior Russian officials, lawmakers and military officers accused of meddling in Ukraine.

EU headquarters said Thursday the asset freezes and travel bans on 155 people and 44 "entities" — usually companies or organizations — are extended until March 15, 2019. It said there was no justification for dropping the sanctions.

Those hit are accused of "actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine."

The EU imposed sanctions on Russia after it annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014, and refuses to recognize Moscow's authority there. Some Crimea officials are also on the list.

The bloc has separate sanctions targeting the Russian economy. They remain in place until at least January 31.