The Trump administration on Thursday imposed new sanctions on a dozen individuals and entities in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea، The Hill reported.
The group includes a company linked to Bank Rossiya and Russian businessman Yuri Kovalchuk and others accused of operating in Crimea، which the U.S. says Russia seized illegally in 2014.
One Russian intelligence officer and another official in eastern Ukraine were sanctioned for engaging in "serious human rights abuses،" the Treasury Department said.
"Treasury remains committed to targeting Russian-backed entities that seek to profit from Russia’s illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea،" said Sigal Mandelker، Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. "Our sanctions are a clear reminder that efforts seeking to normalize investment and economic relationships with those operating in Crimea will not be tolerated."
The latest round of penalties، which were mandated by Congress، could further inflame the U.S.-Russia relationship despite President Trump's stated goal of forming a closer relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The two leaders are both expected to attend events in Paris this weekend commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Trump has said he probably will not hold an official meeting with Putin، but it is possible they will speak to one another.
Trump has at times appeared to be on a different page than his administration when it comes to punishing Russia for its annexation of Crimea.
During a press conference Wednesday at the White House، Trump said President Obama "allowed a very large part of Ukraine to be taken."
When a reporter pointed out it was Putin who decided to annex Crimea، the president pushed back، saying، "That was President Obama's regime."