US slaps further sanctions on Russia over annexation of Crimea
The US Treasury has announced new sanctions against 21 people and nine companies related to the conflict in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea by Russia.
« The U.S. government is committed to maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and to targeting those who attempt to undermine the Minsk agreement, said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in a statement. Those who provide goods, services or material support to US-sanctioned persons and entities for their activities in Ukraine expose themselves to US sanctions. «
The new measures concern target eleven « ministers » of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, and the « governor » of Sevastopol in Crimea, all accused of hindering peace or exercising governmental functions in Ukrainian territory without permission from Kiev.
Russian Deputy Minister of Energy Andrei Cherezov and a department head in the same Ministry have also been sanctioned. They had already been sanctioned by the European Union for diverting Siemens gas turbines to Crimea. Sergei Topor-Gilka, General Manager of Technopromexport, a subsidiary of the Russian state conglomerate Rostec, is also targeted by the US measures.
The transfer of turbines last summer to Crimea is contrary to the sales contract, said the US Treasury, believing that they might « contribute to the annexation of Crimea by Russia by providing an independent source of energy to Crimea and Sevastopol. »
The Russian Foreign Ministry has denounced the decision of the US Treasury as the the continuation of an « absurd sanctions campaign has not succeeded and will not lead to any results. »
« If the American authorities prefer to break economic ties… with Russia, it is their right, as it is ours to reserve the right to a response, » said the ministry in a statement.