Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on May 12. She announced sanctions against Russia on Friday. File Photo by Graeme Jennings/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The United States hit Russia with a new round of sanctions for illegally annexing the Ukrainian territory it occupies and vowed to punish anyone who supports Moscow's effort.
President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty on Friday claiming Russia has annexed four regions of Ukraine that Moscow only partly occupies as a result of a seven-month invasion of its neighbor. He also made a veiled threat to use nuclear weapons to enforce its occupation.
The U.S. Treasury sanctioned 14 persons in Russia's military-industrial complex, including two international suppliers, three key leaders of Russia's financial infrastructure, immediate family members of some senior Russian officials, and 278 members of Russia's legislature for participating in the annexation.
"We will not stand by as Putin fraudulently attempts to annex parts of Ukraine," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. "The Treasury Department and U.S. government are taking sweeping action today to further weaken Russia's already degraded military-industrial complex and undermine its ability to wage its illegal war."
President Joe Biden said the attempt to annex Ukrainian territory was a clear violation of international law that "tramples" on the United Nations Charter.
"Make no mistake: these actions have no legitimacy," Biden said in a statement. "The United States will always honor Ukraine's internationally recognized borders. We will continue to support Ukraine's efforts to regain control of its territory by strengthening its hand militarily and diplomatically, including through the $1.1 billion in additional security assistance the United States announced this week."
In a statement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the United States will hold other countries who support the annexation to account.
"We will hold to account any individual, entity, or country that provides political or economic support for Russia's illegal attempts to change the status of Ukrainian territory," Blinken said in a statement, adding that the effort was supported by the G7 members.
"Ukraine's people have consistently expressed their desire for a free and democratic future. They want their country to remain independent and sovereign. Their soldiers are fighting bravely, and citizens in Russia-controlled or occupied areas of Ukraine are resisting Moscow's efforts to change Ukraine's internationally recognized borders by brute force."