A 'transatlantic alliance' continues to conspire in Crimea on its 5th anniversary of reunification with the Russian Federation.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced Friday financial sanctions against six individuals and eight Russian companies due to their alleged support of the reunification of the Crimean peninsula with the Russian Federation.
On the fifth anniversary of the referendum whereby the Crimean people decided to join the Federation, the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced a joint initiative with Canada and the European Union to impose more sanctions against Russia, a collective measure which is supposedly aimed at supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
“The U.S. and our transatlantic partners will not allow Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine to go unchecked,” Mnuchin said and added that “this joint initiative... reinforces our shared commitment to impose targeted and meaningful sanctions.”
The Autonomous Republic of Crimea held a referendum on March 16, 2014 to consult its population about the entry of its territory into the Russian Federation. This popular consultation, which the Crimean Parliament approved on Feb. 27, authorized the members of the Supreme Council of Crimea to separate Crimea from Ukraine. The Sevastopol city, which had a different political status, also held its own referendum and decided to belong to the Federation.
Later, both Crimea and Sevastopol declared their independence on March 11 and formed the Republic of Crimea, a decision which the Crimean Parliament took by majority too.
Nevertheless, the U.S. and other Western countries ignored the Crimean people’s will, arguing that the referendum results were illegal according to the 1998 Ukrainian Constitution, which allowed the Ukrainian parliament to veto any legislation passed by the Crimean parliament.
Canada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said Friday that it had imposed new trade sanctions against 114 citizens and 15 Russian companies in connection with the 2018 naval incident between Russia and Ukraine in the Kerch Strait.
The Kremlin, which called the incident a "very dangerous provocation", has defended the actions of its coastguards by underlining that they acted in accordance with the law.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has played down the additional embargoes saying that they are "nothing new or unexpected" in the Western countries' repertoire of geopolitical tactics.
"We regret that [the U.S. and Canada] continue to pursue a disastrous course towards the complete destruction of bilateral relations with Russia, which are already in a very deplorable state as a result of the heavy Russophobia that swept Washington and Ottawa," Russia said, as reported by Sputnik.