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Obama Bans U.S. Trade With Crimea

U.S. President Barack Obama announces more sanctions banning trade with Crimea.
U.S. President Barack Obama announces more sanctions banning trade with Crimea.

U.S. President Barack Obama has issued an executive order banning U.S. exports of goods, technology or services to Ukraine's Crimea region.

Obama also authorized the Treasury Department to impose sanctions on individuals and companies operating in the region.

In announcing the new measures on December 19, Obama also called on Russia to end its annexation of the region.

The Treasury Department announced 17 names and seven entities blacklisted under the order.

Canada also announced on December 19 new sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

The moves come one day after the European Union banned investment in Crimea.

Obama signed a separate law authorizing new Russian sanctions on December 18, but said that he would not use the authority at this time.

That law also authorizes the president to send lethal weapons to Ukraine's military.

Crimea has been under de facto Russian control since March, after Russian-backed forces took the peninsula from Ukraine.

"I again call on Russia to end its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, cease its support to separatists in eastern Ukraine, and fulfill its commitments under the Minsk agreements," Obama said.

The Minsk Protocol signed in September led to a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine but failed to stop the fighting.

Obama said he "will continue to review and calibrate our sanctions, in close coordination with our international partners, to respond to Russia's actions."

Ukraine and Western countries have repeatedly accused Russia of stoking the unrest in eastern Ukraine by supplying weapons and troops to the pro-Russian rebels.

Moscow denies the charge despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the new sanctions against Russia on December 19, including additional restrictions on the export of technology used in the oil and gas industry.

Harper warned that "the Putin regime has continuously violated the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine."

"Canada will not accept the illegal occupation of Crimea and persistent, provocative military activity in eastern Ukraine," he added.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird also said sanctions were being applied on 11 Russians and nine Ukrainians, due to Russia's actions in Ukraine.

with reporting by AFP and Reuters

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