Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The Trump administration placed a new round of sanctions against 12 Russian individuals and businesses.
The sanctions are aimed at a company connected with Bank Rossiya and Russian businessman Yuri Kovalchuk, as well as others doing business in Crimea, a territory the U.S. said Russia illegally annexed in 2014.
The Treasury Department said one Russian intelligence officer and another official in eastern Ukraine received sanctions for taking part in "serious human rights abuses." The department also targeted eight entities for illegally operating on behalf of Russia in Crimea.
"Treasury remains committed to targeting Russian-backed entities that seek to profit from Russia's illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea," Sigal Mandelker, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasury, said in a news release. "Our sanctions are a clear reminder that efforts seeking to normalize investment and economic relationships with those operating in Crimea will not be tolerated."
The latest sanctions, mandated by Congress, come after President Donald Trump said he wanted to form a closer bond with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"It underscores the administration's continuing will to use sanctions authority to pressure Russia and its proxies. That sends a very clear message to Moscow in advance of the expected Trump-Putin summit in Argentina and to Congress at a key moment following the midterm elections," Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center, told CNN.
Trump and Putin are both expected to visit Paris this weekend to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. While President Trump has said he won't attend any official meetings with Putin, the two could speak this weekend.