White House imposes more sanctions on Russia

McClatchy Washington BureauApril 28, 2014 

The White House is imposing new sanctions on Russia, targeting 7 Russian government officials and 17 companies linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin as it accused Russia of further escalating the crisis in Ukraine, despite an agreement to quell the violence.

The administration is taking the steps “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,” Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

He noted that Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and the European Union at a meeting in Geneva on April 17 agreed to a number of steps to deescalate the situation in eastern Ukraine, including refraining from further violence, but that since that date “Russia has done nothing to meet its Geneva commitments and in fact has further escalated the crisis.”

The U.S. made clear it would impose additional costs on Russia if it failed live up to the agreement, Carney said. The steps taken today include imposing targeted sanctions on a number of Russian individuals and entities and restricting licenses for certain U.S. exports to Russia.

That includes 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 the 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.

Further, Commerce and the State Department have announced a tightened policy to deny export license applications for any high-technology items that could contribute to Russia’s military capabilities, Carney said. The departments also will revoke any existing export licenses that meet these conditions.

“The international community has been unified in its position that Russia must cease its illegal intervention and provocative actions in Ukraine,” Carney said.

He said the U.S. “working closely with its partners, remains prepared to impose still greater costs on Russia if the Russian leadership continues these provocations instead of de-escalating the situation.”

He noted an executive order Obama signed March 20 authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to impose sanctions on individuals and entities operating in key sectors of the Russian economy, such as financial services, energy, metals and mining, engineering, and defense.

“If there is further Russian military intervention in Ukraine, we are prepared to sanction entities under this authority,” Carney said.

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