State Dept. refutes reports that communications have frozen.
The U.S. Treasury Department released more sanctions against Russians and Russian companies for Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea in March 2014. The Kremlin has lashed out against these new sanctions, saying the government may respond:
“We regret that Washington is continuing on this destructive path,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
“We believe this damages bilateral relations … Russia will take commensurate measures.”
The Hill continued:
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said his government is mulling “how we can respond asymmetrically.”
“We reserve the right to choose the timing, the venue and form of counter-moves the way that will suit us, and the way it will be relevant to our own priorities in the American direction,” Ryabkov told Russian-owned Tass news service. “We have repeatedly said and say once again that we all must be on alert.”
The Kremlin said communications between Russia and the U.S. have frozen up, but the State Department refutes the Kremlin’s claims:
“It’s difficult to know exactly what is meant by this comment, but diplomatic engagement with Russia continues across a wide range of issues,” U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. “That we have significant differences with Moscow on some of these issues is well known, but there hasn’t been a break in dialogue.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by phone on Tuesday regarding the situation in Syria, Kirby said.
The Treasury released the sanctions on Tuesday. The department has consistently placed sanctions on Russia since the Kremlin annexed Crimea:
“Today’s action is in response to Russia’s unlawful occupation of Crimea and continued aggression in Ukraine,” said John E. Smith, acting director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. “These targeted sanctions aim to maintain pressure on Russia by sustaining the costs of its occupation of Crimea and disrupting the activities of those who support the violence and instability in Ukraine.”
Kirill Kovalchuk, Dmitri Lebedev, Dmitri Mansurov, Mikhail Klishin, Oleg Minaev and Mikhail Dedov, all executives with Bank Rossiya or its affiliates, were sanctioned for acting on behalf of the bank. Bank Rossiya has extensive ties to the Russian government.
Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a Russian businessman, has close ties with the Russia’s Ministry of Defense and a company with extensive ties to him is under contract to build a Russian military base near the country’s border with Ukraine.
The sanctions also target eight infrastructure, shipping and construction companies with ties to projects in and near Crimea.
A company with a large presence in the U.S. could face penalties if caught doing business with anyone on a U.S. sanctions list.DONATE
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