U.S., G-7 sanction Russia defense companies, people close to Putin

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The White House announced Sunday fresh U.S. and G-7 sanctions on Russia targeting defense companies and individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The coordinated sanctions aimed at punishing Russia for alleged destabilization of Ukraine will start this week, deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken said.

President Barack Obama also issued a statement before leaving Malaysia that the sanctions aim to force Russia to stop its destabilizing activities in Ukraine.

The U.S. will not provide military aid or weapons to Ukraine, which feels threatened by Russia’s military exercise in its borders, Blinken also revealed. Instead, the U.S. is raising $37 billion from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and other U.S. partners as financial aid to Ukraine.

In a joint statement released by the White House Sunday, the G-7 leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States repeated condemnation of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, including the city of Stevastopol.

Meanwhile, one of eight Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) military observers seized by pro-Russian militants in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk was released on medical grounds. The OSCE diplomat from Sweden was suffering from mild diabetes and was driven away on an OSCE car. The remaining observers from Germany, Poland, Sweden, Denmark and the Czech Republic remain.

The observers, who claim to have been invited to eastern Ukraine by Sloviansk mayor Vyacheslav) Ponomaryov, were seized Friday from a bus by gunmen and were reportedly suspected as NATO officers. German monitor Col Axel Schneider denied they are NATO officers.

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