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Lavrov slams Washington’s latest round of anti-Russia sanctions

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has slammed the US’s “Russophobe obsession” after Washington intensifies its anti-Moscow trade sanctions over its alleged complicity in the Ukraine crisis.

Lavrov denounced Washington’s policies during a joint presser held with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Moscow on Tuesday.

“I can only express my regrets at the Russophobe obsession of our American colleagues. It goes beyond all bounds”, he said.

“It is no way helps to improve the atmosphere. The sanctions were imposed for no apparent reason, again,” he said.

The Russian foreign minister made the remarks after the US Treasury Department announced that it would tighten its sanctions against entities with alleged ties to the conflict in Ukraine.

The latest round of sanctions were announced during a visit by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to Washington.

“These designations will maintain pressure on Russia to work toward a diplomatic solution,” claimed US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies about the fiscal year 2018 budget during a Senate Budget Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 13, 2017.

“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,” he added.

In accordance to the new sanctions, the assets, relative to US jurisdiction, of 38 individuals and entities, including two Russian government officials and 11 individuals financially active in Crimea will be frozen.

Earlier in the day, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that the anti-Russia sanctions will continue to be implicated until Moscow pulls out from eastern Ukraine.

“It’s part of the reason there are sanctions, because until they are out of eastern Ukraine, we’re going to continue to have sanctions on Russia, and we believe that is part of Ukraine, and so therefore those sanctions will remain,” he said.

The US sanctions came just one day after, the EU extended its own sanctions imposed over Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, for another year.

Despite the recent announcements, Le Drian said that his country’s goal was not isolating Russia.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reacts during a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov following their meeting in Moscow on June 20, 2017.

“We are not seeking Russia’s isolation from the rest of Europe, nor its economic weakening…We must understand one another,” he said.

The EU has blocked the import of products from Crimea and halted any European investment or real estate purchases and prevents cruise ships from stopping in Crimea.

Crimea declared independence from Ukraine on March 17, 2014 and formally applied to become part of Russia following a referendum, in which the majority of people voted to separate from Ukraine and reunite with Russia.

The EU, however, considers the development as an illegal “annexation” and has imposed a raft of economic sanctions on Russia. The 28-member bloc has also extended an array of other sanctions on Moscow for another six months in March.

Russia, however, has categorically denied the allegations that it is responsible for the Ukrainian conflict.

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