This article was originally published on the Voice of America website on December 19.
President Barack Obama has imposed a wide-ranging trade ban on the Russian-annexed Crimea Peninsula, with an executive order that bars exports of key U.S. goods and services and blocks Crimean imports.
A White House statement Friday said the order is “intended to provide U.S. clarity to American corporations doing business in the region.” It also said it aimed to demonstrate that Washington “will not accept Russia’s occupation” of Crimea.
The ban includes sanctions on 24 individuals and companies identified as contributing to unrest in eastern Ukraine.
The Russian parliament voted in April to annex the region, despite protests from the European Union and Washington.
The U.S. measures follow similar moves made this week by the European Union and Canada.
Obama on Thursday signed into law a bill authorizing additional sanctions against Moscow for its support of the ongoing pro-Russian rebellion in eastern Ukraine. He said the legislation, known as the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, gave his administration additional flexibility to impose new measures against Moscow “if circumstances warranted.”
The law also authorized $350 million in lethal and nonlethal military aid to Ukraine, including anti-tank weaponry, munitions and surveillance drones.
The Russian Foreign Ministry, in a statement Friday, described Moscow as “deeply disappointed” in the U.S. law, calling it “unacceptable and provocative.”