Trump administration puts more pressure on Russia over Ukraine

Key Points
  • The U.S. Treasury is adding 38 individuals and entities to the list of those sanctioned because of Russia's actions in Ukraine.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the move will "maintain pressure on Russia to work toward a diplomatic solution" in Crimea.
President Donald Trump walks towards Marine One to depart for Cincinnati on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, June 7, 2017.
Eric Thayer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury added 38 individuals and entities Tuesday to those sanctioned because of Russia's actions in Ukraine.

In a statement, the Treasury said the move "reinforced" existing U.S. sanctions, which "will not be lifted until Russia ends its occupation of the peninsula."

"These designations will maintain pressure on Russia to work toward a diplomatic solution," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. "This administration is committed to a diplomatic process that guarantees Ukrainian sovereignty, and there should be no sanctions relief until Russia meets its obligations under the Minsk agreements," a series of ceasefire deals.

The U.S. and EU initially put sanctions on Russia in response to its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region. In the statement Tuesday, the Treasury said it wants to see a "diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine" and "facilitate Crimea's return to Ukraine."

The announcement came shortly before President Donald Trump's meeting with national security advisor H.R. McMaster, at which Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was set to appear.

Trump came into office seeking better relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. His rhetoric toward Putin led to speculation that he could ease separate sanctions imposed by the Obama administration after the U.S. concluded that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election.

However, members of the Trump administration have insisted publicly that they have no plans to do so.

The move also comes amid a federal investigation of Russian interference that reportedly includes looking into whether Trump tried to impede the probe. Trump's lawyer has denied that the president is under investigation.