MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The US Embassy in Moscow dismissed on Thursday claims that the latest expansion of anti-Russian sanctions could be related to Russia's blocking the UNSC draft resolution on Malaysia Flight MH17 tribunal.
The US Department of Treasury added earlier on Thursday nearly two dozen entities and eleven individuals to the sanction’s list related to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, including Russian defense manufacturer Izhevsky Mekhanichesky Zavod, banks, port operators in Crimea and Rosneft’s subsidiaries.
"This is not related at all [to voting in UNSC], this is about maintaining the integrity of existing sanctions to make sure that they have the same impact that they had been having all along," the US embassy's press secretary, William Stevens, told RIA Novosti.
On Wednesday, Russia voted against the proposal to set up an international tribunal to prosecute those behind the alleged downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over southeastern Ukraine. As a result, the draft resolution failed to pass the UN Security Council.
Stevens added that the fresh addition to the US blacklist was not a new round of sanctions, which were first imposed on Russia and Crimea in the wake of the start of the Ukrainian armed conflict in spring 2014.
"This is not an escalation in any way," he stressed.
Last year's crash of the Malaysian airliner en route to Kuala Lumpur deepened international tension around the ongoing crisis in southeastern Ukraine. According to a preliminary report by the Dutch Safety Board, the Boeing 777 fell apart in midair after being hit by numerous high-energy objects.