U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker has said the new financial sanctions against Russia announced by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control on November 8 for the first time officially recognize that Russia has full control over the situation in the occupied part of eastern Ukraine.
Also, these are first sanctions that are imposed on individuals who, with their investment, "contribute to the integration of Crimea" and concern those involved in human rights violations in Crimea, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported.
Speaking of the new sanctions the U.S. has imposed on Russia, Volker said they concerned both Crimea and Donbas.
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He noted the sanctions are the next step after the Crimean Declaration by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of July 25 that the U.S. does not recognize and will not recognize Crimea as part of Russia.
According to Volker, these sanctions underline the unshakable partnership between the United States and Ukraine and the European Union and the rejection of the occupation and annexation of Crimea and the use of force to control parts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine. At the same time, the United States places responsibility on Russia for human rights violations in those areas of Ukraine that are occupied or controlled by Russia by force.
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At the same time, he said the sanctions would be toughened if there was no progress in returning Crimea under Ukraine's control and the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
According to Volker, the war in Donbas already has more casualties than any other conflict in Europe since the Balkan Wars. And as for people who were forced to leave their homes, these figures are the largest since the Second World War. Over 3 million people left the conflict zone, where more than 10,000 people died, including 450 civilians have died in the last 14 months. More than a million people need help because they live without water, heating or even a roof over their heads. Most of them are elderly people who are not able to leave the conflict zone.
In order for loss figures to be understood by foreign journalists, Volker explained that about 3,000 civilian Ukrainians had died in this conflict, and the losses of the Ukrainian troops, which reach 7,000 people, were greater than the losses among the U.S. troops in Afghanistan for all time war in that country.