The European Union has approved sanctions against Sergei Shoigu, Russia's Defense Minister, Maria Zakharova, director of the foreign ministry’s Information and Press Department, and Sputnik and RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan, as well as 555 individuals and 52 entities.

The EU claims that Shoigu, "is responsible for actively supporting actions and implementing policies that undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine."

Maria Zakharova, the director of the Russian foreign ministry's Information and Press Department, was placed on the sanctions list due to her being deemed "the central figure of state propaganda." The EU also accuses her of "promoting the deployment of Russian troops in Ukraine."

The EU has accused Simonyan of presenting a "positive attitude towards the annexation of Crimea and the actions of the separatists in the Donbass," through MIA Rossiya Segodnya and RT.

"She supported actions and policies that undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine," the EU added.

Inclusion on the sanctions list prevents entry into the EU and the freezing of assets in the region. It also freezes the assets of organizations included on the list.

The sanctions also prohibit EU citizens and organizations from transferring funds to individuals and entities on the list.

The sanctions are designed to target individuals and entities deemed close to the Russian president.

The European Union Council issued the sanctions in response, "to the decision by the Russian Federation to proceed with the recognition of the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts of Ukraine as independent entities, and the subsequent decision to send Russian troops into these areas."

The EU has banned certain transactions with securities of the Russian Government and Central Bank issued after March 9. The sanction is designed to limit Russia's ability to tap into the EU's capital and financial markets.

The sanctions also extend to business and economic dealings in non-Ukrainian controlled regions of the Donbas.