The financial sanctions on Russia which the US Treasury Department announced on November 8 are the first to officially recognize that Russia has complete control over the situation in the Donbas, said Kurt Volker, The US State Department’s Special Representative for Ukraine, Voice of America reports.
For the first time, the sanctions are also being placed on private entities who are “facilitating the integration of Crimea” through their financial investments, as well as persons complicit in human rights violations in Crimea.
“These are sanctions on three individuals and nine entities that are supporting Russia’s attempts to integrate the Crimea region of Ukraine, through private investment and privatization projects, or those who are engaging in serious human rights abuses,” the special envoy commented.
Volker noted that these sanctions are the next step following the Crimea Declaration by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on July 25, which affirmed that the US does not and will not recognize Crimea as part of Russia.
“What is notable here is that we have said for a long time that Russia has 100 percent command and control of what is happening in the occupied areas there -- military forces, political entities, and direct economic activity. This is the first step taken in the form of sanctions that explicitly recognizes or explicitly is based on the notion that Russia actually controls the Donbas and eastern Ukraine,” Volker emphasized.
He promised that the sanctions will only intensify if no progress is made towards bringing Crimea back under Ukraine’s control and implementing the Minsk agreements.