German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier read files during a session of the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, in Berlin March 20, 2014. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
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Russia faces further sanctions from the European Union on Thursday over its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula as tensions in the region remained high despite the release of a Ukrainian naval commander.Earlier this week, the EU and the United States slapped sanctions on certain individuals that were involved in what they say was the unlawful referendum in Crimea over joining Russia.Attempting to face down the unblinking incursion, Ukraine on Wednesday said it would hold joint military exercises with the United States and Britain, signatories, along with Russia, of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum -- a document designed to guarantee Ukraine's territorial integrity when it surrendered its share of Soviet nuclear arsenals to Russia after the Soviet Union broke up in 1991 .With thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and sailors trapped on military bases, surrounded by heavily armed Russian forces and pro-Russia militia, the Kiev government said it was drawing up plans to evacuate its outnumbered troops from Crimea back to the mainland and would seek U.N. support to turn the peninsula into a demilitarized zone.
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