December 19, 2014 / 9:39 PM / in 3 years

Obama to block exports of goods, technology, services to Crimea

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Friday said he would ban exports of goods, technology or services to Ukraine’s Crimea region, and called on Russia to end its annexation of the region.

U.S. President Barack Obama answers a question about the cyberattack on Sony Pictures after his end of the year press conference in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, December 19, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

In a statement, Obama said his order “is intended to provide clarity to U.S. corporations doing business in the region and reaffirm that the United States will not accept Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea.”

The measures followed similar moves by the European Union this week. Canada also announced such measures on Friday.

Obama also authorized the Treasury Department to impose sanctions on individuals and companies operating in the region. The department slapped sanctions on 24 Ukrainians and Russians and several companies it determined were contributing to destabilizing Ukraine.

Among those sanctioned on Friday was Marshall Capital Partners, a Russian equity investment group owned by Konstantin Malofeyev, who the U.S. Treasury Department said was helping fund separatist activities in east Ukraine.

The Treasury Department also slapped sanctions on the Night Wolves, a biker group whose members served in Crimean forces after Russia’s annexation of the region.

Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Sandra Maler

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