WASHINGTON — The United States is slapping new sanctions on several individuals and entities involved in supporting Russian-backed separatists seeking to destabilize eastern Ukraine.
The penalties target 14 Ukrainian and Russian individuals. Among them are the former prime minister of Ukraine and two others high-ranking officials who worked for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (yah-noo-KOH'-vich).
The U.S. is also blocking the assets of a bank operating in Crimea, the strategically important peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine last year. The Eurasian Youth Union, which the U.S. says has been actively recruiting individuals with military and combat experience to fight in Ukraine, is also being sanctioned.
President Barack Obama and European leaders have wielded sanctions as their main form of retaliation for Russia's threatening moves in Ukraine.