Volker announces plans to intensify anti-Russian sanctions

The US does not recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and believes that “words are not enough”, US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker said on 26 February during the opening of the fifth international forum titled: “Occupation of Crimea: 5 years of opposition” in Kyiv.

“We does not and will not accept Russia’s claimed annexation of Crimea. But words are not enough. We are very clearly and closely following the human rights situation in Crimea, and we are carefully following the situation with the imposition of sanctions. In close cooperation with our partners in the EU, we are in favor of maintaining the sanctions regime related to Crimea. By acknowledging that it is already the 5th anniversary of the capture of Crimea, we and the EU advocate further sanctions,” Volker said.

On Twitter, Volker wrote that “The US does not and will not accept Russia’s claimed annexation of Crimea. Russia has committed numerous human rights abuses in furtherance of its occupation. We will continue to maintain and strengthen sanctions until Crimea is returned".

The international forum “Occupation of Crimea: 5 years of opposition” began on 26 February at the Mystetskyi Arsenal cultural complex in Kyiv.

The US first imposed sanctions on Russia in connection with the situation in eastern Ukraine and Crimea in 2014. This took place after a controversial referendum was held in Crimea. Russia claims that 96.6% of the Crimean voters voted in favor of secession from Ukraine and accession to Russia. Kyiv and the West disputed the validity of the referendum. Russian soldiers without uniform insignias were present on the peninsula during the voting.

Russian President Vladimir Putin later admitted that Russian soldiers had been present during the referendum. “I will not conceal the fact that we used our armed forces to block the Ukrainian military divisions stationed in Crimea, but not to force anyone to go to the elections,” the Russian president said in October 2014.

Western sanctions against Moscow have subsequently been expanded and extended on multiple occasions. Some of the Russians under individual sanctions include Gennady Timchenko, Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, Yury Kovalchuk, Nikolay Shamalov, Igor Sechin and Sergey Chemezov. Putin has referred to many of them as his “close acquaintances” and friends.

  Ukraine, Russia, Putin, Crimea, Volker