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In an escalating of tensions, the United States has expanded its sanctions against Russia targeting members of President Vladimir Putin’s “inner circle” and technology that could be useful to Russia’s military. President Barack Obama said the “targeted” sanctions are in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
“The United States has taken further action in response to Russia’s continued illegal intervention in Ukraine and provocative acts that undermine Ukraine’s democracy and threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity,” the White House said in a statement.
Since a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 17, Russia “has done nothing” to meet its commitments “and in fact has further escalated the crisis,” the White House said in a statement.
The Department of the Treasury has imposed sanctions on seven Russian government officials, including two members of President Putin’s inner circle, who will be subject to an asset freeze and a U.S. visa ban, and 17 companies linked to Putin’s inner circle, which will be subject to an asset freeze.
“In addition, the Department of Commerce has imposed additional restrictions on 13 of those companies by imposing a license requirement with a presumption of denial for the export, re-export or other foreign transfer of U.S.-origin items to the companies.”
The US has also tightened their policy to deny export license applications for any high-technology items that could contribute to Russia’s military capabilities. Those Departments also will revoke any existing export licenses that meet these conditions.
Meanwhile, Russia has condemned the sanctions and called them “meaningless, shameful, and disgusting.”
Sergey Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy minister for foreign relations, said, “It will only intensify all the processes in Ukraine which it intends to change or stop,” he said adding It is yet another sign of a reckless behavior of the U.S. administration. No lessons are learned from the past. The U.S. does literally nothing to impress its cronies and clients in Kiev on whom there is full responsibility for constant deterioration of the situation in Ukraine. This is what needs to be changed and not the policy of Russia. “A response of Moscow will follow, and it will be painfully felt in Washington D.C.”
A senior Ukrainian government official called the new sanctions “a very good step, but we hope it’s not the final step. Sector sanctions would be the really painful measure.”