US sanctions Russian individuals, entities over "continued aggression" in Ukraine

Date: 15/03/2019     Time: 9:25 PM

The US designated Friday six Russian individuals and eight entities "in response to Russia's continued and ongoing aggression in Ukraine." The Department of Treasury said in a statement that today's action targets individuals and entities "playing a role in Russia's unjustified attacks on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait, the purported annexation of Crimea, and backing of illegitimate separatist government elections in eastern Ukraine." These actions complement sanctions also taken today by the European Union and Canada and "underscore the strength and commitment of the transatlantic partnership to counter Russia's continued destabilizing behavior and malign activities." Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin said in this regard that the US and its transatlantic partners "will not allow Russia's continued aggression against Ukraine to go unchecked." He affirmed that "this joint initiative with our partners in the European Union and Canada reinforces our shared commitment to impose targeted and meaningful sanctions in response to the Kremlin's attempts to disregard international norms and undermine Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity." "The international community is strongly aligned against Russia's naval attacks in the Kerch Straight, purported annexation of Crimea, and support for the illegitimate separatist-conducted elections in eastern Ukraine," he stressed. Meanwhile, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a statement that "in the five years since Russia started its campaign of aggression against Ukraine, we have stood firmly with our Transatlantic partners in opposition to Russia's malign and illegal actions, including its attack near the Kerch Strait. Russia's attack represented a dangerous escalation and a violation of international law." "We call upon Russia to immediately return to Ukraine the seized vessels and detained crewmembers, and keep the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov open to ships transiting to and from Ukrainian ports," it noted. It added "we also call on Russia to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, including its territorial waters." "The message to Russia is clear - the international community will not stand by while Russia continues to violate international norms and laws and the Transatlantic community stands united in our efforts to counter Russian aggression," it stressed.