US to step up pressure on Russia with more sanctions - USA

George McgeeAug 24, 2018

Tuesday's announcement came just days after Washington imposed sanctions on a Russian port service agency as well as Chinese companies for aiding North Korean ships and selling alcohol and tobacco to Pyongyang in breach of US sanctions.

Trump has repeatedly said he would like better ties with Moscow, but despite meeting President Vladimir Putin last month, relations have come under further strain as Washington announced new sanctions. He said the Trump administration's' policy of imposing restrictions on the Kremlin is ill-informed and won't bring the results the U.S.is hoping for.

Mr. Trump made the comments in an interview with Reuters.

The ships - and two Vladivostok-based shipping companies - violated USA and United Nations sanctions on North Korea, the Treasury Department said Tuesday in announcing the sanctions on its website. The United States' continued sanctions on foreign entities for illicit deals with the North is seen as a display of Washington's determination not to lift sanctions unless Pyongyang takes tangible steps toward denuclearization.

They were accused of involvement in ship-to-ship transfer of refined petroleum products with North -flagged vessels, an activity prohibited by the UN Security Council.

"We will not hesitate to do so if its conduct does not demonstrably and significantly change", Mandelker added.

Trump and Putin met in Helsinki in July, their first bilateral meeting, after which the U.S. president was highly criticised at home for being very conciliatory with his Russian counterpart.

In two separate actions Tuesday, the Treasury imposed sanctions on several Russian companies, six vessels and two individuals involved in efforts to undermine those.

Meanwhile, Britain's new foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is set to push the United States into slapping tougher sanctions on Russian Federation, in response to Moscow's "malign" behavior around the world.

He said the US restrictions are "counterproductive and senseless, especially against such country as Russian Federation", adding that Moscow expects Washington to realize their uselessness and engage in constructive cooperation.

"We must engage with Moscow but we must also be blunt.

Overall foreign direct investment in Russian Federation fell in 2013 by more than 5%, and a tangible reduction fell on the share of direct investment from the United States, they decreased in 2013 by 80%", - said the Deputy Minister.

The U.S.is aiming to keep pressure on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to denuclearize.

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