The US today slapped fresh sanctions on seven Russian officials and 17 companies linked to President Vladimir Putin's "inner circle" over continued "illegal intervention and provocative acts" in Ukraine.
Alleging that the Putin government continues to violate the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine, the US warned that more tougher sanctions could be imposed after today's punitive measures, that include expanding export restrictions.
"The United States has taken further action today in response to Russia's continued illegal intervention in Ukraine and provocative acts that undermine Ukraine's democracy and threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
The US Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on seven Russian government officials, including two key members of Putin's inner circle - who will be subject to an asset freeze and a US visa ban, and slapped sanctions on 17 firms, which will be subject to an asset freeze.
In a statement, US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew alleged that Russia's dangerous and inflammatory actions against Ukraine are illegal and illegitimate.
"Since Russia has refused to follow through on its Geneva commitments, today the United States is following through on its statements – we are imposing additional costs against Russia, including sanctions on individuals in the Russian leadership's inner circle and 17 entities closely linked to previously sanctioned members of the inner circle.
"Today's targeted actions, taken in close coordination with the EU, will increase the impact we have already begun to see on Russia's own economy as a result of Russia's actions in Ukraine and from US and international sanctions," he said.
Some of the top individuals include Oleg Belavantsev, Russia's Presidential Envoy to Crimea; Sergei Chemezov Director General of the State Corporation for Promoting Development, Manufacturing and Export of Russian Technologies High-Tech Industrial Products, also known as Rostec; and Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia.
Effective immediately, the US will deny pending applications for licences to export or re-export any high technology item subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to Russia or occupied Crimea that contribute to Russia's military capabilities.