REVIEW: US, Canada, EU Slap New Sanctions On Russia Over 'Continued Aggression' In Ukraine

REVIEW: US, Canada, EU Slap New Sanctions on Russia Over 'Continued Aggression' in Ukraine

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 16th March, 2019) The United States, Canada and the European Union on Friday imposed new sanctions against Russian officials and entities over the situation in Ukraine, including over the Kerch Strait incident, in what Washington describes is Moscow's "continued and ongoing" aggression in Ukraine.

Russia regrets that the United States and Canada continue to pursue a disastrous course toward a complete destruction of bilateral relations, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, adding that Moscow will certainly provide a practical response to the new sanctions.

The US Treasury Department on Friday sanctioned six Russian individuals for their role in last year's Kerch Strait incident, the disputed reunification of Crimea and the backing of separatist government elections in eastern Ukraine.

The sanctioned individuals include: Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) Border Guard Service Deputy Director Gennadiy Medvedev; FSB Head of the Service Command Point for the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol Ruslan Romashkin; Border Directorate deputy head Andrey Shein; Border Directorate head Sergey Stankevich, along with Aleksey Naydenko and Vladimir Vysotsky.

"As a result of today's designations, all property and interests in property of the designated individuals and entities are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from transacting with them. Moreover, any entities owned 50 percent or more by these designated persons are also blocked by operation of law," the Treasury Department said in a release.

The European Union added eight Russian individuals to its sanction list, while Canada's ballooned its list by 114 individuals. Ottawa's long list of sanctioned individuals includes Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and VTB bank head Andrey Kostin.

Konstantin Kosachev, the Russian upper house's foreign affairs committee chairman, and Russian National Guard Director Viktor Zolotov, have also been sanctioned.

SANCTIONED RUSSIAN ORGANIZATIONS

In addition to the slew of individuals caught in the latest round of sanctions, Washington also targeted six Russian defense firms with operations in Crimea. Among the designated entities are the Zelenodolsk Shipyard Plant, Kontsern Okeanpribor, AO Zavod Fiolent, Yaroslavsky Shipbuilding Plant and PAO Zvezda.

Aviation companies Sukhoi, Tuopolev and MiG were the most recognizable entities included on Canada's sanctions list. The dozen other Russian entities affected by Ottawa's sanctions include the AO Institute Giprostroymost, PJSC Mostotrest, Stroygazmontazh Most, PJSC Power Machines, Oboronlogistika, Stroygazmontazh LLC, Ugolnye Tekhnologii, Gas Alliance and JSC Zaliv Shipyard.

"Canada and its allies are unwavering in our support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia's provocations in the Kerch Strait and its illegal invasion and ongoing occupation of Crimea will not go unchecked," Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement.

The European Union did not include Russian businesses in its latest sanction announcement.

US, EU AND CANADIAN DEMANDS OVER KERCH STRAIT INCIDENT

The United State, European Union and Canada demand the immediate release of detained Ukrainian servicemen and their vessels seized by Russia, as well as free passage through the Kerch Strait.

"We call upon Russia to immediately return to Ukraine the seized vessels and detained crewmembers, and keep the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov open to ships transiting to and from Ukrainian ports. We also call on Russia to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," US State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a statement.

On November 25, Ukraine's Berdyansk and Nikopol gunboats and the Yany Kapu tugboat illegally crossed the Russian maritime border as they sailed toward the Kerch Strait, the entrance to the Sea of Azov. Russia seized the Ukrainian vessels and detained 24 people on board after they failed to respond to a demand to stop. After the incident, the Russian authorities opened a criminal case on the illegal border crossing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the incident a provocation, noting that there were members of the Ukrainian security service, who were in charge of the operation, on board the Ukrainian vessels.

RUSSIA'S REACTION TO NEW WESTERN SANCTIONS

Russia's Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement deploring the latest round of US-Canada-EU sections, and saying the move may completely destroy bilateral relations.

"We express our regret that in the American and Canadian capitals they continue to pursue a disastrous course towards the complete destruction of bilateral relations with Russia, which are already in a very deplorable state as a result of the heavy Russophobia that swept Washington and Ottawa," the statement said.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry also pointed out that it will provide a practical response to the new sanctions in due time.

Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the upper house of Russia's parliament, said the West has become hostage of the provocation carried out by Ukraine.

"The scheme worked: provocation - reaction - sanctions. This means that Kiev can now easily provoke as many Western sanctions as it wants," Kosachev wrote on Facebook. "By making themselves hostages to the provocations by the Ukrainian authorities, the US, Canada and the EU will now have to continue to act in the same manner."

In 2014, relations between Russia and the West deteriorated over the former's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict and Crimea's reunification with Russia following a referendum. The United States and the European Union have since imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia's energy, banking, defense and other sectors, as well as on a number of Russian officials. Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations and reacted with countermeasures against the Western nations that targeted it with sanctions.

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