The United States has updated its sanction list, targeting 34 individuals and organisations to increase “pressure” on Russia over its intervention in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, the US Treasury Department said on Tuesday.
"Today's steps support the US commitment to seek a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine by maintaining our sanctions on Russia," the Treasury said in a statement.
The United States and the European Union have imposed a series of sanctions on Russian individuals and businesses as a response to Moscow’s aggression in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.
According to United Nations data, more than 9,000 people have been killed in the clashes between Ukraine forces and the Russian-backed separatists in east Ukraine since 2014.
The US Treasury said that the imposed sanctions would be active until Russia fully keeps its promises under the Minsk peace agreement, adding “including the return to Ukraine of control of its side of the international border with Russia."
The US move comes less than 24 hours after the European Union announced it extended economic sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
The statement by the Treasury said that 14 individuals out of the 34 had previously helped target civilians and organisations evade sanctions. And six out of the 34 are Ukrainian separatists, who were already on the EU sanctions lists, who were accused of activities in violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Two were officials in the government of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. One was accused of ordering the use of firearms against demonstrators in early 2014 and the other accused of embezzlement,” it said.
“Twelve are entities, including three Russian banks, operating in the Crimean region of Ukraine, which was annexed by Russia last year.”
Moscow to take measures after new round of US sanctions
After the US announced a new round of sanctions on Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that Russia may consider counter measures against the sanctions.
"This is continuation of this unfriendly stance towards Russia, continuation of the stance which has a devastating impact on bilateral relations," Peskov said during a press conference.
"As it is known, in such cases a principle of reciprocity prevails."