Author Topic: Obama imposes sanctions on Russian officials, ousted Ukrainian president  (Read 117 times)

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Offline flowers

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Obama on Monday imposed sanctions on 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials blamed for Russia's military incursion into Crimea, including two top aides to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The sanctions were the most visible sign of U.S. anger at Russia's attempt to absorb the Crimea region of southern Ukraine, reflecting the deepest plunge in U.S.-Russian relations since the Cold War.

The sanctions came in an executive order signed by Obama a day after a Crimea referendum on Sunday aimed at allowing Russia to annex the autonomous region, a vote that the United States says was illegal and would never be recognized by Washington.

During a White House press briefing, Obama warned that continued Russian military intervention in Ukraine would only increase Russia's isolation and exact a greater toll on its economy.

"If Russia continues to interfere in Ukraine, we stand ready to impose further sanctions," he said.

Amid fears that Russia might move into eastern Ukraine, Obama said further provocations will achieve nothing except to "further isolate Russia and diminish its place in the world."

Obama's order freezes any assets in the United States and bans travel into the country of seven ranking Russian government officials and four individuals identified as Crimea-based separatist leaders.

Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was among those sanctioned. He fled Kiev after bloody protests against his rule.

The United States also reached into Putin's inner circle by naming presidential aide Vladislav Surkov and adviser Sergei Glazyev. Russia's deputy prime minister, Dmitri Rogozin, and two state Duma deputies, Leonid Slutsky and Yelena Mizulina also were targeted.

Senior administration officials who briefed reporters on the penalties said they were the most comprehensive sanctions applied to Russia since the end of the Cold War.

A senior official said Obama's order clears the way for sanctions on people associated with the Russian arms industry and targets "the personal wealth of cronies" of the Russian leadership.

Putin himself was not sanctioned. A senior Obama administration official said it would have been a highly unusual step and extraordinary to target a head of state.

The administration announced plans for sanctions this month but had not named the individuals until Monday.

Obama said he would travel to Europe next week and that Vice President Joe Biden was headed on Monday to Poland and Lithuania to reassure U.S. allies in the region.

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