US sanctions 34 in Russia-Ukraine conflict

22nd December 2015, Comments 0 comments

The United States sanctioned 34 more individuals and entities Tuesday that have backed the pro-Russia separatist campaign in Ukraine, as Washington aims to step up pressure on Moscow.

The group includes 14 individuals and entities that have engaged in "serious and sustained evasion of existing sanctions," or that are at least 50 percent owned by a sanctioned entity, the Department of Treasury said.

The sanctions freeze assets of named entities and bar them from trade with US companies and individuals.

"We are once again demonstrating the United States' unwavering resolve to pressure Russia to respect the security and sovereignty of Ukraine," said John Smith, acting director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Other named figures include six Ukrainian separatists who are already on the European Union's sanctions list, a pair of former officials who served under Ukrainian ex-president Viktor Yanukovych, and 12 entities that are operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine.

Targeting of the latter 12 "underscores the United States' commitment to opposing Russia's occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea," the Treasury said.

A Kremlin spokesman denounced the latest round of US sanctions.

"They are pursuing a contradictory policy and taking a hostile line against Russia, with serious consequences for bilateral relations," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

"We can only regret that Washington has taken a decision that goes against common sense and cooperation."

Peskov said the Kremlin was considering countermeasures in response to the latest sanctions.

© 2015 AFP

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