The U.S. Treasury Department is expanding sanctions to more Russian individuals and entities in connection to the conflict in Ukraine.
The department on Tuesday announced seven individuals and eight entities that will now be subject to sanctions related to Russia's occupation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and the ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine.
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One of the individuals designated by Treasury, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, is said to have extensive business dealings with the Russian Federation's defense ministry. Treasury also said that a company with "significant ties" to Prigozhin has obtained a contract to construct a military base near Russia's border with Ukraine.
"Russia has been building additional military bases near the Ukrainian border and has used these bases as staging points for deploying soldiers into Ukraine," the release states.
Additionally, individuals named Kirill Kovalchuk, Dmitri Lebedev, Dmitri Mansurov, Mikhail Klishin, Oleg Minaev, and Mikhail Dedov are now sanctioned for "acting for or on behalf of and providing financial, material, or technological support to Bank Rossiya, ABR Management, or Sobinbank," all of which are already subject to sanctions.
Among the companies newly sanctioned are two that are involved with the Kerch Bridge project, a road-rail bridge that the Russian Federation is constructing over the Kerch Strait to connect the Russian mainland to the eastern tip of Crimea. Others include Crimean Railway, a Russian-sponsored business operating rail systems in Crimea, and Crimean Ports, which maintains safety at seaports throughout the region of Crimea.
"Today's action is in response to Russia's unlawful occupation of Crimea and continued aggression in Ukraine," John Smith, acting director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, said Tuesday. "These targeted sanctions aim to maintain pressure on Russia by sustaining the costs of its occupation of Crimea and disrupting the activities of those who support the violence and instability in Ukraine."
Treasury also identified 26 subsidiaries that are owned 50 percent or more by previously-sanctioned Russian companies that are likewise now subject to sanctions.
The new sanctions were unveiled one day after the European Union formally extended economic sanctions on Russia for an additional six months. The sanctions, which were first introduced in July 2014 following Russia's invasion of Crimea, will now hold until July of next year.
Russia first intervened in Ukraine in the spring of 2014 and annexed Crimea. Despite U.S. and EU sanctions, Russian-backed separatists have continued to fight Ukrainian forces on the country's eastern flank for more than two years.