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Treasury Department hits Russia with additional sanctions

President Barack Obama announces sanctions on Russian officials in March 2014 after the controversial Ukraine referendum vote on Crimea. On Thursday, the Treasury Department announced additional sanctions on nearly 40 people and entities that have attempted to evade the existing sanctions, officials said. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
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The U.S. Treasury Department announced additional sanctions on Russia to pressure it to comply with the Minsk Protocol and withdraw all military personnel from Ukraine.
Treasury officials said in a statement Thursday that they are also levying the new sanctions to protect the effectiveness of the existing sanctions.
"The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control today designated 37 individuals and entities under three Executive Orders related to Russia and Ukraine," the statement said. "Today's action is part of OFAC's ongoing efforts to counter attempts to circumvent sanctions on Russia, to assist the private sector with sanctions compliance, and to foster a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Ukraine."
The original sanctions were issued after Moscow's controversial referendum and annexation of Crimea in 2014 -- a move that's still not recognized by some Western nations, including the United States -- and the subsequent fighting in Ukraine and southern Russia.
A cease-fire, under the Minsk Protocol, was agreed to six months after the annexation.
"The action demonstrates Treasury's steadfast commitment to maintain sanctions until Russia fully implements its commitments under the Minsk agreements, including a comprehensive cease fire, the withdrawal of all weapons and military personnel," the Treasury statement added Thursday.
"Russia continues to provoke instability in eastern Ukraine despite its Minsk commitments," Acting OFAC Director John E. Smith stated. "Treasury stands with our partners in condemning Russia's violation of international law."
In the announcement, U.S. officials included a list of the 37 sanctioned individuals and entities -- which include separatists and companies operating in the Crimean Peninsula.
The sanctions come as Moscow continues to increase its military presence in the Donbass region, where a series of Russian drills are scheduled for this month.

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