March 13 (UPI) -- The Trump administration has imposed sanctions against a subsidiary of the Russian state-controlled Rosneft Oil Company for allegedly propping up embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro through brokering the sale of the South American nation's oil.
The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday imposed the sanctions against TNK Trading International "for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy," it said in a statement.
Last month, the Treasury blacklisted Rosneft for aiding Maduro in evading sanctions, accusing it of overseeing the sale of Venezuelan oil, going so far as to transfer millions of barrels between ships at sea to evade detection.
The Treasury said following Rosneft's designation, TNK Trading assisted in the evasion of sanctions by slapping its name on shipments of Venezuelan oil that were previously allocated to its parent company.
"TNK Trading International S.A. is another Rosneft subsidiary brokering the sale and transport of Venezuelan crude oil, which is subject to sanctions," Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement. "The Trump administration remains committed to targeting those who support the corrupt regime's exploitation of Venezuela's oil assets."
"Today, we sanctioned Russian Rosneft-owned oil firm TNK Trading International S.A., increasing the regime's isolation and bringing the people of Venezuela closer to freedom and prosperity," he said.
The United States has repeatedly imposed sanctions against the Venezuelan leadership and those it accuses of supporting it since Maduro's 2018 re-election was deemed illegitimate. In January 2019, the Trump administration backed opposition leader Juan Guaido's self-appointed claim as interim president, a movement that has garnered the support of nearly 60 mostly Western countries.
Venezuela on Thursday rejected the sanctions as "illegal and arbitrary," threatening to bring the matter before the international criminal court.
"Respect international law and the sovereignty of Venezuela," said Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza via Twitter. "Lift the sanctions."
The United States said Rosneft obtained control of TNK Trading in December 2017 and together they handled a large percentage of Venezuela's oil exports last year.
Pompeo on Thursday urged the international community to join the United States in applying pressure on the Maduro regime in order to force it to "relinquish its illegitimate hold on power."
"The United States, in coordination with international partners, will continue to increase the pressure on Maduro and his enablers until freedom and prosperity are restored in Venezuela," he said in a statement.