Sun, Jan 28, 2018 - Page 5 News List

US to sanction firms, 21 individuals over Crimea

AP, WASHINGTON

The administration of US President Donald Trump on Friday said it would punish 21 people and nine companies with sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

Eleven of the individuals are Ukrainian pro-Russian separatists, the US Department of the Treasury said.

They hold titles such as minister of finance, trade, justice and security in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine.

The US is also targeting several Russian officials, including Russian Deputy Minister of Energy Andrey Cherezov.

Cherezov is already under EU sanctions for his role in transferring turbines to Crimea. The turbines were sold to Russia by German electricity giant Siemens for use on Russian territory.

Several companies involved in building infrastructure in Crimea are also being targeted by the latest sanctions.

The annexation of Crimea in 2014 is not recognized by the US.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has insisted that sanctions on Russia related to Crimea would remain in place indefinitely as long as Moscow refuses to withdraw from the territory.

“The US government is committed to maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and to targeting those who attempt to undermine the Minsk agreements,” US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said, referring to a 2015 peace agreement reached in the Belarussian capital that has never been fully implemented.

The Russian government reacted to the sanctions by calling them “senseless” and arguing that previous sanctions have failed to produce results for Washington.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the US actions would lead to financial losses for US businesses and that the US was demonstrating “to the whole world their own helplessness.”

“If US authorities prefer to break economic and other ties with Russia, it is their right — just as we reserve the right to respond,” the ministry said in a statement.

The new US sanctions came as Tillerson met on Friday with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Davos, Switzerland.

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