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.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread
RISKY BUSINESS: The Chinese firm has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of 5G equipment not covered by US sanctions, but fears a wider ban could be announced in the UK Huawei Technologies Co believes it can supply 5G hardware unaffected by US sanctions to the UK for the next five years, sidestepping the expected conclusion of British emergency review on Tuesday. The company has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of kit, but fears a wider ban on its equipment is to be unveiled to placate rebel British Conservative Party lawmakers, who say that the Chinese supplier represents a national security risk. The British government on Friday said that it was “very likely” that British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden would make a statement to parliament on Tuesday