Tensions between the United States and Russia continue to flare as the West announced expanded sanctions against new Russian and Ukrainian businesses and individuals. The sanctions are imposed against this new group for their involvement in the invasion of Ukraine and for supporting and supplying the separatists.
Both the European Union and the United States remain steadfast in its conviction that applying economic pressure on Vladimir Putin is necessary in bringing an end to the Ukraine crisis.
Specifically, the United States announced yesterday that it had added 29 people to its sanctions list. The U.S. also added 33 companies and other entities to the list.
Those sanctioned include senior Russian lawmakers, advisors and rebel Ukrainian officials and leaders. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak has been sanctioned for his role in leading the charge to integrate Crimea into Russia after its annexation. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin also was sanctioned for publicly calling for the seizure of Crimea. Additional parties receiving sanctions include the leader of Russia’s main intelligence directorate, Igor Sergun and senior Kremlin advisor Vladislav Surkov.
The sanctioned entities include subsidiaries of state-owned oil conglomerate, Rosneft, operated by Putin ally Igor Sechin. Also sanctioned is the company that manufactures Kalashnikov assault rifles. Crimea’s largest ferry operator and several shipping ports also were blacklisted.
The U.S. sanctions include a number of measures including making it harder for the individuals and companies to obtain export licenses for materials and goods from the United States.
In the meantime, the European Union plans to extend the visa bans and freezing of assets of those supporting the separatist movement in eastern Ukraine.
Russia is not taking the expanded sanctions lightly. The Russian Foreign Ministry chastised the sanctions as illegitimate and unwarranted and that they added to the “hostile actions” of the United States against Russia. The Ministry released a statement that, “The action of the United States devalues the signals that it is interested in cooperating with us in resolving a myriad of pressing international problems. The United States should have no illusions that it could continue this course without negative consequences for themselves.”
Greater than 6,400 people have died since the conflict in Ukraine began. The magnitude of the crisis has deteriorated the already frosty relationship between the United States and Russia - to lows not seen since the Cold War.