The United States has announced additional sanctions against a number of Russian and Ukrainian entities tied to Russia's actions in neighboring Ukraine.
The Trump administration announced the sanctions Thursday ahead of a trip by U.S. President Donald Trump to Paris, where he and Russian President Vladimir Putin will both be visiting on Sunday to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
Thursday's news about new sanctions affect two Ukrainians, one Russian and nine organizations in Ukraine and Russia. The U.S. Treasury Department said the sanctions affect two people and one group engaged in "serious human rights abuses in parts of Ukraine."
In a statement, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Sigal Mandelker, said the department "remains committed to targeting Russian-backed entities that seek to profit from Russia's illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea."
She added, "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 and are subject to U.S. and EU sanctions authorities."
The effect of the sanctions is to freeze any U.S. assets held by the individuals or entities, and to prohibit U.S. citizens from doing business with them.
The individuals targeted for sanctions include Andriy Volodymyrovych Sushko, an officer in the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, who is suspected of having "unlawfully abducted a Crimean Tatar activist who objected to Russia's occupation of Crimea, and having subsequently participated in the abuse of this individual," according to the Treasury statement.
The sanctions also target Aleksander Basov, who is an official of the so-called Luhansk People's Republic, a political entity in eastern Ukraine that is not internationally recognized as an autonomous state. Basov is accused of ordering or being complicit in human rights abuses in Russia-controlled Ukraine.
A third individual, Vladimir Nikolaevich Zaritsky, is under sanctions for actions by his company, Limited Liability Company Infrastructure Projects Management Company, for buying and developing property illegally seized from the government of Ukraine.
The organizations targeted for sanctions largely fall into the category of private investors who are operating in Russian-controlled Crimea without consent of the Ukrainian government.
The new sanctions announced Thursday followed a contentious press conference by Trump, in which he insisted former U.S. President Barack Obama was responsible for allowing Russia to annex the territory it now controls in eastern Ukraine.