>> The United States on Tuesday ramping up tough sanctions on Russia for the annexation of Crimea, and what it called continued aggression by Moscow in Ukraine. The sanctions blacklisting six executives at At Bank Rossiya, which is known as Putin's bank for its close ties to his inner circle.
Also named, Russia's largest private gas producer NovaTech, run by Leonid Mikkelsen, one of Russia's richest men. The US Treasury adding them to a range of sanctions leveled against Russia's economy since 2014. Deputy foreign policy editor Yara Bayumi.>> Moscow's immediate response described it as a hostile act. And said that they would, in turn, increase their own US sanctions list as well.
>> This coming a day after the European Union agreed to extend its own economic sanctions until mid-2017 amid Fears US President-elect Donald Trump might ease pressure on Moscow when he takes office. Trump has spoken favorably of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and his choice for Secretary of State, close Putin associate, Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson.
>> Tillerson has vocally said that he was against US sanctions on Russia, so it still remains to be seen what Trump will do once he takes over. He could always reverse these sanctions through executive orders, through which they were enforced in the first place. There is definitely the feeling at least, even if it won't be said publicly, that once Trump takes over there will be a warming of a relationship between Washington and Moscow.
>> The latest US move coming amid rising tensions over Russia's alleged hacking in the US presidential campaign. The CIA concluding Russia broke into Democratic Party servers to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. Trump has so far refused to accept US intelligence assessments that Russia was behind the hacks.