The United States imposed additional sanctions on Russian individuals and companies over Crimea’s re-integration with Russia in 2014.

Iran Press/ Europe: The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on two Ukrainians, a Russian officer and nine entities for Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and  what was claimed by  U.S. Treasury as  "the  profiting from the occupation".

According to Reuters, one of the entities sanctioned - the Limited Liability Company Southern Project - was linked to Bank Rossiya and Russian businessman Yuri Kovulchuk, the Treasury Department said.

Kovulchuk, whom the United States government has called “the personal banker” for senior Russian officials, is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and was previously sanctioned by the United States over the Crimea crisis.

The sanctions will freeze any US-based assets and ban financial transactions with the targets, who include Vladimir Zaritsky, the former commander-in-chief of Russia's missile forces and artillery who is leading a hotel project in Crimea.

Zaritsky's firm bought three hotels in Crimea that had been owned by the Ukraine state and were taken over after the integration.

Under the new sanctions is the Mriya Resort and Spa, a luxury hotel that opened in the resort of Yalta shortly after the annexation and which the Treasury Department called "the main Russian platform for showcasing investment opportunities in Crimea."

The US Congress had mandated the latest round of sanctions slapped on Russia.

The new sanctions are unacceptable and such attempts to influence Moscow are doomed to fail, TASS news agency reported Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Thursday.

Furthermore, earlier on August 13, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called Crimea as an excuse for imposing sanctions.

It is not the first time that  US imposes sanctions against  Russia: Earlier, on August 22, the first wave of sanctions took effect which banned licenses for exports of sensitive national security material to Russia, on the basis of the allegations of chemical weapon use by Moscow against former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the United Kingdom and demanded that Moscow allow international on-site inspections.

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Russia has hit back over US sanctions and vowed reciprocal measures, further damaging the US-Russia relationship despite Donald Trump's stated goal of forming a closer relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump has described an affinity for Putin and has at times appeared to be following a different agenda than his administration when it comes to punishing Russia over Crimea.

Both presidents are expected to attend events in Paris this weekend commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

On August 7, during a press conference at the White House, Trump did not rule out the possibility when asked about a meeting with Putin in Paris.

Instead, Trump referred to his "good" July summit in Helsinki with Putin. "I had a very, very good meeting -- 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," Trump said.

When a reporter pointed out it was Putin who decided to integrate Crimea, President Trump insisted, "No, no. It was President Obama that allowed it to happen." 

In 2014, after a referendum Russia integrated Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula whose population is largely ethnically Russian but was part of Ukraine. Western powers have vowed never to recognize the integration. 203/103


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