Trump administration ups sanctions on Russia before Paris summit

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration levied further sanctions Thursday on Russia for human rights abuses and unlawful financial exercise in Crimea, simply days earlier than President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin head to Paris for a gathering of world leaders.

The transfer is one other instance of the Trump administration’s willingness to at occasions be more durable on Russia than the president’s rhetoric suggests. Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Putin, whilst Congress handed a invoice final yr to punish Russia for its involvement within the 2016 election and its invasion of Crimea.

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Russia invaded japanese Ukraine in 2014, bringing the warm-water area of Crimea below de facto Russian management. The United States and European Union proceed to acknowledge the peninsula as a part of Ukraine.

Thursday’s sanctions goal three people and 9 entities for supporting efforts to economically combine Crimea into Russia or for human rights violations. One of the entities is the Ministry of State Security of the Luhansk People’s Republic, an unrecognized breakaway state from Ukraine that’s below Kremlin affect. The ministry has engaged in intimidation ways in its prisons together with threatening extreme violence and rape, in addition to persecuting members of Jehovah’s Witness, a Treasury assertion stated.

The sanctions additionally checklist Andriy Volodymyrovych Sushko, an agent of the FSB, the inheritor secret service company to the KGB, for choking, beating and utilizing electrical shocks on a Crimean Tatar activist. Other entities embrace firms working in Crimea and promoting Ukrainian state belongings to non-public people who’re sympathetic to Russia.

“Treasury stays dedicated to concentrating on Russian-backed entities that search to revenue from Russia’s unlawful annexation and occupation of Crimea. Our sanctions are a transparent reminder that efforts looking for to normalize funding and financial relationships with these working in Crimea won’t be tolerated and are topic to U.S. and EU sanctions authorities,” Sigal Mandelker, treasury below secretary for terrorism and monetary intelligence, stated in a information launch.

The administration additionally imposed sanctions on Russia earlier this yr for meddling within the 2016 presidential election and over the tried homicide by poisoning of a former KGB spy in London. Moscow has denied involvement within the poisoning and the 2016 election interference.

Trump and Putin each agreed to attend the memorial providers in Paris this weekend for the anniversary of the tip of World War I, and observers surprise if will probably be one other stark buddy-buddy second akin to their Helsinki summit this summer season. During the Finland assembly, Trump appeared to clear Putin of any blame for interfering within the 2016 elections, going solely off of Putin’s phrase — regardless of reviews from his personal intelligence neighborhood that Russia had an energetic position in influencing the elections.

It’s unclear if Trump and Putin will carve out time to have one other one-on-one in Paris, however will probably be exhausting for the 2 to overlook one another through the gathering of world leaders. The Kremlin introduced this week the 2 would have a working lunch, however Trump stated at a information convention Wednesday that the 2 won’t meet till later within the month at an upcoming G20 Summit in Argentina.

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov instructed reporters in Moscow that the French authorities hopes the 2 world leaders will not break off from the remainder of the group in order to not overshadow the commemorative occasions, The New York Times reported.

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