The United States is imposing a new round of financial sanctions related to Russia's aggression of Ukraine.
The measures target three individuals and nine entities that are "supporting Russia's attempts to integrate the Crimea region of Ukraine [into Russia] through private investment and privatization projects or those who are engaging in serious human rights abuses," the U.S. special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker said on November 8.
The Treasury Department later issued a press release listing the individuals and entities targeted.
U.S. and other Western countries have imposed sanctions on Russia over its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and its backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine, where fighting with Ukrainian government forces has killed more than 10,300 people since April 2014.
The United States 'does not and will not recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea,' Volker told reporters on a conference call, adding that Washington is 'leveraging new authorities to target Russian actors for serious human rights abuses' in parts of Ukraine's Luhansk and Donetsk regions that are 'forcibly occupied or otherwise controlled by Russia.'
He also reiterated the United States' opposition to local elections planned for November 11 in areas of eastern Ukraine held by the separatists.
'It is something that we would call on Russia to halt and not go forward with,' he said, adding that the separatists 'do not have legitimacy in the local area nor are they consistent' with the accords signed in Minsk in September 2014 and February 2015 and aimed at resolving the conflict.
Ukraine has said the results of the 'fake' elections will be 'null and void.' European countries have also condemned the 'illegitimate'vote.
Russia has argued that the municipal elections are needed 'to fill the vacuum in power' following the August killing of Donetsk separatist leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko.
Volker said he planned to meet with his Russian counterpart, Russian President Vladimir Putin's adviser, Vladislav Surkov, 'in the next several weeks.'
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