U.S. Treasury Expands Sanctions on Russia Over Ukraine Conflict

Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama in 2015 / AP

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday said that it expanded sanctions on Russia for its activities related to the conflict in Ukraine.

The department said in a release that its Office of Foreign Assets Control had updated its sanctions lists targeting individuals and entities that have played a role in the Ukraine conflict. The Treasury Department has added several individuals to the Specially Designated Nationals List and several entities to the Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List.

Among the entities now targeted with sanctions are several subsidiaries of Russian gas company Gazprom, bridge companies Mostotrest and SGM-Most, and several financial companies.

The United States first announced sanctions against Russia in March 2014 following Russia’s deployment of military forces to Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. The European Union has also imposed sanctions against Russia for its annexation of Crimea.

Notice of the updated sanctions lists comes ahead of the G-20 Summit in China next week, where President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to meet.

Tensions over the situation in Ukraine have heightened in recent weeks, after Russia accused Ukrainian intelligence analysts of plotting terrorist attacks on critical infrastructure in Crimea. Ukraine has denied the accusations, which President Petro Poroshenko described as a false "pretext for more military threats against Ukraine."

Since then, Russian military forces have been staging near the border with Ukraine and in Crimea, and over the past week Russia has conducted unannounced military exercises to test "combat readiness" of ground, naval, and air forces.