WASHINGTON: The United States on Thursday imposed a new set of sanctions on a dozen of Russian individuals pertaining to Russia's annexation of Crimea.
The Treasury Department levied sanctions against two individuals and one entity for "serious human rights abuses" and on another eight organisations and one individual for playing a role in advancing Russian interests in Crimea, which the US has asserted that it was "forcefully seized" from Ukrainian territory in 2014.
One of the eight entities also includes an organisation linked to Bank Rossiya and Russian businessman Yuri Kovalchuk, who was also sanctioned previously, and others accused of "operating" in Crimea, The Hill reported.
"Treasury remains committed to targeting Russian-backed entities that seek to profit from Russia's illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea. Our sanctions are a clear reminder that efforts seeking to normalize investment and economic relationships with those operating in Crimea will not be tolerated," said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
The latest round of sanctions comes amid the strained ties between Moscow and Washington, despite US President Donald Trump's desire to form a close bond with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump had blamed his predecessor Barack Obama for Russia's annexation of Crimea.
The Trump administration does not recognise Crimea to be a part of Russia, saying the territorial sovereignty was violated and that the region is a part of Ukraine. Crimea was annexed by Russian troops in March 2014.
Moscow had claimed that Crimea became a part of Russia, following a referendum, where the population of Crimea agreed to switch from Ukrainian nationality to Russian, Al Jazeera reported.
The annexation led to tensions and violence in the Crimean peninsula, which also saw then pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich being overthrown, following massive demonstrations in that year.