Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, after the US announced imposing sharper sanctions for Russian support for separatist rebels in Ukraine, warned it was a case of a "Russian-phobic obsession" coming from the United States. "I can only say that I am sorry for the obsession with Russia coming from our US counterparts that crosses all borders," Lavrov said at a press conference held with French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian. "Once again these sanctions have been determined without any foundation," he added.

He said that all the serious observers are laughing at American explanation of those sanctions.

Diplomatic solution

On Tuesday, prior to the meeting of US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian counterpart Petar Poroshenko in the White House, the United States announced that it would step up sanctions against Russia for its support to the rebel rebels in Ukraine. New sanctions concern 38 individuals in Ukraine, two Russian government officials and twelve individuals and organizations operating in the Crimea.

The purpose of sanctions is to keep the pressure on Russia to find a diplomatic solution, Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin said.

According to the United States Finance Ministry sanctions related to the situation in the east of Ukraine will remain in force until Russia does not comply its obligations under the Minsk agreement.

Sanctions for individuals

Among the individuals on the "American Black List", there are some twenty Ukrainian separatists.

They have positions in the "People's Republic of Donetsk", around the city of the same name and the "People's Republic of Luhansk". The director of the "Crimea" prison services, his state lawyer and interior minister, are also on the list as well as his minister for security. Two paramilitary organizations and their leaders recruiting combatants with separatists in Ukraine are also on that list along with six banks in Crimea.

United States sanctions related to Crimea will not be abolished until Russia interrupts the occupation of the peninsula.

Since 2014 an armed conflict between pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country and the power of Kyiv is ongoing, where more than 10,000 people were killed. The United States and the European allies who have imposed sanctions on Russia require the application of the peace agreements in Minsk, concluded in 2015, which should establish a ceasefire.

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