US slaps fresh sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

            By Michael Hernandez</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - The U.S. blacklisted six Russian nationals and eight Russian entities Friday over Moscow's &quot;continued and ongoing aggression&quot; in Ukraine, as the European Union and Canada issued their own sanctions. </p>  <p>The Treasury Department said the new economic penalties are in retaliation for Russia's &quot;unjustified attacks&quot; on Ukrainian ships in a key waterway between the Crimean Peninsula and Russia, as well as Moscow's annexation of Crimea and support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. </p>  <p>&quot;This joint initiative with our partners in the European Union and Canada reinforces our shared commitment to impose targeted and meaningful sanctions in response to the Kremlin’s attempts to disregard international norms and undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.</p>  <p>Among those blacklisted Friday are Russian officials whom the Treasury said were involved in the attack on Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait: Gennadiy Medvedev, the deputy director of the Russian Border Guard; Sergey Stankevich, the head of the Border Directorate; and Andrey Shein, the deputy head of the Border Directorate. </p>  <p>Medvedev and Stankevich, the Treasury said, &quot;directly controlled and organized the attack&quot;.</p>  <p>A fourth Russian, Ruslan Romashkin, Russia's head of security for Crimea and Sevastopol, was also designated. </p>  <p>The U.S. also sanctioned eight Russian defense firms it said are operating in Crimea.</p>  <p>Moscow captured 24 Ukrainian sailors in the Kerch Strait last November, and seized three Ukrainian Naval vessels. The sailors have yet to be released.