The Trump administration has slapped additional sanctions on Russia over its actions in Crimea.
In a news release on Thursday, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker said:
The United States is leveraging new authorities to target Russian actors for serious human rights abuses in parts of Ukraine that the United States government has determined are forcibly occupied or otherwise controlled by the Russian government, and other reprehensible acts in furtherance of the Kremlin’s malign agenda.
Treasury remains committed to targeting Russian-backed entities that seek to profit from Russia’s illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea. Our sanctions are a clear reminder that efforts seeking to normalize investment and economic relationships with those operating in Crimea will not be tolerated and are subject to U.S. and EU sanctions authorities.
The sanctions, which went into effect immediately, targeted two individuals and one entity for committing “serious human rights abuses in the furtherance of the Russian Federation’s forcible occupation or control of territories of Ukraine, including Crimea and certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine.” Eight additional entities and one additional individual for operating in illegally obtained Crimean territory.
One of the Russians hit by these sanctions, Andriy Volodymyrovych Sushko, is accused of abducting “a Crimean Tatar activist who objected to Russia’s occupation of Crimea” and then participated in abusing him with “electric shocks, choking, and beatings while in FSB captivity.”
Trump was asked at Wednesday’s news conference about his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but that was overshadowed by his verbal confrontation with CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta.
Trump responded to the question about meeting with Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, by hyping the past meeting he had with Putin in Helsinki, Finland. Trump said that he had “a very, very good meeting with President Putin, and a lot was discussed about security, about Syria, about Ukraine, about the fact that President Obama allowed a very large part of Ukraine to be taken. Right now, you have submarines off that particular parcel that we’re talking about. You know what I’m talking about.”
Asked to clarify, Trump reiterated that the annexation of Crimea had happened during “President Obama’s regime.”