Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department has added to its sanctions list another six self-proclaimed MPs of the State Duma of Russia from Crimea.
According to the US agency's press service, such measures in respect of the MPs of the Russian State Duma (Parliament) were applied for their participation in actions and policies that undermine democratic processes in Ukraine, as well as threaten the peace, security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. In particular, the sanctions were imposed on the so-called “Deputy Prime Minister of Crimea” Ruslan Balbec and self-appointed deputies from the peninsula - Dmitry Belik, Andrey Kozenko, Konstantin Bakharev, Svetlana Savchenko and Pavel Shperov.
According to the report by the US Treasury Department, this decision confirmed the US commitment to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine by maintaining sanctions against the invaders, and commitment to a policy of non-recognition of occupation of Crimea.
“The United States does not recognize the illegitimate elections to the Russian State Duma that took place in Crimea. The decision was closely coordinated with the EU, underscoring the strength of the U.S.-EU partnership in maintaining pressure on Russia. Treasury will continue to sanction those individuals involved in Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its destabilizing activities in Ukraine,” said John E. Smith, Acting OFAC Director.
By the way, 8 MPs of the State Duma were elected in the occupied Crimea, but two of them, including former "Prosecutor of Crimea" Natalia Poklonskaya, had already been sanctioned.
It was reported earlier that on September 15, the European Union extended the validity of a blacklist of individuals and organizations of Russia and Ukraine for six months. The list includes representatives of the Russian leadership, Russian politicians, businessmen and security officials, as well as almost all members of the leadership of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republic" ("DPR" and "LPR"). Moreover, 37 organizations were put on the list, including all known "military and political structures of the" DPR" and "LPR," the European business is forbidden to maintain any relations with.
The black list for Russia is only one of the three EU independent sanctions packages. Apart from it, the sectoral economic sanctions will remain in force until the end of January 2017, and the trade and travel restrictions with regard to Crimea in the framework of the EU Strategy for non-recognition of the peninsula’s reunification with Russia - until the end of June 2017.