US hits 7 Ukraine rebels with sanctions

By Associated Press | June 20 2014

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration imposed sanctions Friday on several pro-Russian separatist leaders in Ukraine, including self-proclaimed rebel mayors, governors and commanders in chief of cities under siege, for refusing to cede to the central government in Kiev. The sanctions came as U.S. officials renewed accusations that Russia is providing the separatists with tanks and heavy weaponry and as Ukraine’s president announced a unilateral ceasefire that Washington urged Moscow to support.

The penalties on seven separatists were intended as a signal that the U.S. will continue to punish those it holds responsible for instability in Ukraine and that the West was still prepared to slap tougher sanctions on Russia’s economic sectors to punish it for stoking unrest in Ukraine should Moscow not take steps to de-escalate the crisis, the officials said.

The White House and State Department welcomed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s ceasefire announcement even as they denounced Russia for supplying separatists with military gear. White House spokesman Josh Earnest called reports of a new Russian military buildup near the Ukraine border “troubling” and dismissed explanations from the Kremlin that the movement of security forces is related to border security.

“We will not accept any use of Russian military forces, under any pretext, in eastern Ukraine,” Earnest said. He also slammed Russian officials for making what he said were false claims about the Ukrainian government being responsible for poor human rights conditions in eastern Ukraine.

“We see these statements for what they are: an attempt to create pretext for further illegal Russia intervention in Ukraine,” he said. “In fact, responsibility for the deterioration in the human rights situation in Ukraine lies with the armed separatists who are targeting the population, and their backers in Russia.”

Washington last week accused Russia of sending three tanks and several rocket launchers to the separatists and, at the State Department on Friday, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. believes Russia is preparing to send in more tanks and artillery from a site in southwest Russia.

“We have information that additional tanks have been prepared for departure from this same deployment site,” she said. “We also have information that Russia has accumulated artillery at a deployment site in southwest Russia, including a type of artillery utilized by Ukrainian forces but no longer in Russia’s active forces and believe Russia may soon provide this equipment to separatist fighters.”

Psaki would not say if the provision of the equipment to the separatists would be a trigger for additional sanctions.

Since Russia annexed Ukraine’s strategic Crimean peninsula in March, the U.S. has imposed sanctions against 71 individuals and entities, including in Russia, for their actions to destabilize Ukraine. The European Union has taken similar steps and next week, U.S. and EU officials will be discussing the possibility of wider sanctions at a series of meetings.

The sanctions imposed on Friday freeze any assets that the seven separatists have in the United States, and prohibit any American firms or businesses from dealing with them. It is a relatively limited slap against the separatists themselves but showed that the U.S. is ready to move forward with more if tensions ratchet back up.

In a statement, the Treasury Department said the sanctions penalize separatist leaders, including Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, who dubbed himself the “people’s mayor” of the eastern Ukraine city of Slovyansk after leading a group who overtook the local government there in early April; his colleague Igor Girkin, the self-described “commander in chief of the Donetsk People’s Republic” in the same town; and Valery Kaurov, who calls himself the “president of Novorossiya.”

Officials said Kaurov has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to deploy troops to Novorossiya, which translates to New Russia and is a pro-Russian term for a region in southeast Ukraine.

Last month, in an apparent attempt to ease tensions, Putin had pulled back many of his estimated 40,000 Russian troops massed along the border. They appear to have returned over the last week — even as Putin and newly elected Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko discuss Poroshenko’s plan for a unilateral cease-fire and as Putin says he is resisting rebels’ calls for help.

 

Treasury Sanctions Additional Individuals For Threatening The Territorial Integrity Of Ukraine
U.S. Department of the Treasury
6/20/2014
 
Sanctions Target Seven Separatists in Ukraine
 
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today sanctioned seven separatists in Ukraine responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine, and/or asserting governmental authority over a part or region of Ukraine without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine. These actions were taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13660.
 
“The United States will continue to take action to hold accountable those persons engaged in efforts to destabilize Crimea and eastern Ukraine,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “These individuals have all contributed to attempts to illegally undermine the legitimate government in Kyiv, notably by falsely proclaiming leadership positions and fomenting violent unrest.”
 
Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, a separatist leader, has declared that the rebels have adopted a “take- no-prisoners” approach with future clashes with the Ukrainian security forces, claiming his men will “kill them all.” He also publically claimed his men would take all necessary measures to disrupt the Ukrainian elections in May. Ponomaryov is the former self-proclaimed “people’s mayor” of Slovyansk who declared himself mayor after leading a group of armed separatists in an assault on the Slovyansk mayor’s office in April. The town of Slovyansk has since become one of the centers of the separatist movement, and has been taken over by armed pro-Russia rebels.
 
Denis Pushilin is a leader of a group calling itself the “Donetsk People’s Republic,” which has seized government buildings across eastern Ukraine, declared itself to be a sovereign state, and requested that it be allowed to join the Russian Federation. Pushilin has overseen an uprising that has seized town halls, police stations, and other buildings in towns across Ukraine’s Donetsk region. Pushilin stated that he and his followers would not release the buildings they seized until the Ukrainian government vacated its government buildings and the Donetsk region got an independence referendum. At a May press conference, Pushilin also stated that civilian and military authorities independent of Kyiv would be formed in the Donetsk region following the results of the illegitimate referendum on the region’s status in May.  He further stated that the presence of any Ukrainian military remaining in the Donetsk region after the announcement of the referendum’s results would be considered illegal.
 
Andrey Purgin describes himself as the co-head of a council running the separatist government in Donetsk. He advocated for the illegitimate May referendum and the federalization of Ukraine and took part in the storming of the Donetsk regional administration building earlier this year. Purgin founded the pro-Russian “Republic of Donetsk” organization in December 2005. The group’s activities were forbidden by a Ukrainian court, which considered them to be directed at the territorial disintegration of Ukraine.
 
Igor Girkin (who is also known as Igor Strelkov) is the self-described “commander-in-chief of the Donetsk People’s Republic” who controls a group of armed separatists in Slovyansk. Girkin is responsible for the abduction of military observers in Ukraine, and an attack on the Slovyansk Internal Affairs Administration and the 25th Air Mobile Brigade from whom he stole a large cache of weapons.
 
Valery Bolotov has proclaimed himself governor of the separatist-controlled Luhansk region and has publically declared war on the government in Kyiv.  Bolotov took direction from Girkin to hold a sham referendum in Luhansk in May.
 
Sergei Menyailo is the de facto “acting governor” of Sevastopol. He assisted in the formation of Sevastopol’s self-defense squads, which played a key role in facilitating Russia’s occupation of the Crimea region of Ukraine and were later entered into the ranks of the Russian military. Menyailo is part of a commission established to ensure the effectiveness of Russian federal executive bodies in Crimea.
 
Valery Kaurov is the self-described “president of Novorossiya” and has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to deploy troops to the territory described as Novorossiya. He has supported separatist activities in Ukraine’s Donetsk andLugansk territories.
 
As a result of today’s action, any assets of the individuals designated today that are within U.S. jurisdiction must be frozen. Additionally, transactions by U.S. persons or within the United States involving the individuals designated today are generally prohibited.
 
Identifying Information
 
Name:             Vyacheslav Ponomaryov
AKA:              Vyacheslav Ponomarev
AKA:              Vachislav Ponomaryov
DOB:              2 May 1965
 
Name:            Denis Pushilin
AKA:             Denis Pushylin
AKA:             Denys Pushylin
AKA:             Denis Volodymyrovych Pushylin
POB:              Makeevka, Ukraine
DOB:              9 May 1981
 
Name:            Andrey Yevgenyevich Purgin
AKA:             Andrei Purgin
AKA:             Andrej Purgin
AKA:             Andriy Purgin
AKA:             Andriy Purgyn
AKA:              Andriy Purhin
DOB:              26 Jan, 1972
 
Name:             Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin
AKA:              Igor Strelok
AKA:              Igor Ivanovich Strelkov
AKA:              Ihor Strelkov
DOB:              17 Dec 1970
Citizenship:     Russian
Passport:         4506460961
Address:         Shenkurskiy Passage (Proyezd), House 8-6, Apartment 136, Moscow, Russia
 
Name:             Valery Bolotov
AKA:              Valeriy Bolotov
AKA:              Valeri Bolotov
DOB:              1970
Alt DOB:        1971
 
Name:             Sergei Ivanovich Menyailo
AKA:              Sergei Menyailo
AKA:              Sergey Menyailo
DOB:              22 Aug 1960
POB:               Alagir, North Ossetia, Russia
Title:               Acting Governor of Sevastopol
 
Name:             Valery Vladimirovich Kaurov
AKA:              Valerii Volodymyrovych Kaurov
AKA:              Valery Kaurov
AKA:              Valeriy Kaurov
DOB:              2 Apr 1956
POB:               Odessa, Ukraine
 
 

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