US imposes additional Ukraine-related sanctions on Russia

US widens scope of Russia sanctions by targeting some Russian and Ukrainian names in business and bureaucratic circles in response to Russia’s involvement in Ukraine crisis

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

The US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced on Thursday that it has imposed penalising measures against 11 people and 15 firms due to their alleged roles in the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine.

The OFAC has leaned its act on Russian activities in eastern Ukraine where the Kremlin-backed separatist forces waged war against Kiev government in the wake of Crimea’s seizure by Moscow.

"Today's action underscores our resolve to maintain pressure on Russia for violating international law and fueling the conflict in eastern Ukraine," Acting OFAC Director John Smith said in a statement.

The new additional sanctions targeted eight entities and people that were allegedly assisting to Gennady Timchenko, a prominent gas trader who was previously sanctioned by the US.

However, the Department added two entities which were said to have been providing support to Boris Rotenberg, a Russian businessman and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The OFAC statement also sanctioned four former Ukrainian officials and their close associates linked to the deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, who was forced to flee to Russia last year February after the so-called Euromaidan Revolution in Kiev.

Meanwhile, the statement listed five Crimean port operators and one ferry operator in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia last year via a fait accompli referendum, but still perceived as a part of Ukraine according to international law.

The US additional sanctions also penalised several entities related with the Russian state development bank (VEB) and Russia’s oil giant Rosneft, which have already been targeted by the Western economic sanctions since last year.

Since Moscow annexed Crimea and gave its military and political support to the separatists inside Ukraine, the relations between Russia and the Euro-Atlantic allies had undergone to the level of Cold War era.

The West perceives the sanction regime as a dissuading force over Russian economy which has been undergoing into recession since last year and also rouble, the Russian currency, was synchronically devalued with its economic decline.

The European Union (EU) Parliament passed a resolution bill last month and called the EU member states to resume financial and economic sanctions on Russia until the new year.

Ukraine reiterated several times that Russia did not abide by the ceasefire measures agreed in Minsk that were put into force as of the middle of February, but both parties have been sporadically violating it since then.

The West increased pressure over Moscow which has long been accused of its military support, including of sending weapons and troops to fight on behalf of the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk provinces since Putin called the seized territories as “New Russia.”

The NATO warned Russia in the past weeks for its responsibility and increasing involvement in the separatist war in the restive east where at least 6,450 people have been killed and nearly 16,000 others wounded in more than 13 months of fierce fightings, according to the UN figures.

TRTWorld and agencies