Obama Announces Sanctions Against Russian Officials


Obama releases a statement concerning imposing sanctions in Ukraine
Associated Press March 17, 2014 10:50AM EDT | Last Updated March 17, 2014 1:42PM EDT

WASHINGTON — In the most comprehensive sanctions against Russia since the end of the Cold War, President Barack Obama on Monday froze the U.S. assets of seven Russian officials, including top advisers to President Vladimir Putin, for their support of Crimea’s vote to secede from Ukraine.

The Treasury Department also is imposing sanctions on four Ukrainians — including former President Viktor Yanukovych and others who have supported Crimea’s separation — under existing authority under a previous Obama order. Senior administration officials also said they are developing evidence against individuals in the arms industry and those they described as “Russian government cronies” to target their assets.

Obama made a statement Monday from the White House.

The administration officials said Putin wasn’t sanctioned despite his support of the Crimean referendum because the U.S. doesn’t usually begin with heads of state. But the officials, speaking to reporters on a conference call on the condition they not be quoted by name, say those sanctioned are very close to Putin and that the sanctions are “designed to hit close to home.”

The U.S. announcement came shortly after the European Union announced travel bans and asset freezes on 21 people they have linked to the unrest in Crimea. Obama administration officials say there is some overlap between the U.S. and European list, which wasn’t immediately made public.

The sanctions were expected after residents in Crimea voted overwhelmingly Sunday in favour of the split. Crimea’s parliament on Monday declared the region an independent state. The administration officials say there is some concrete evidence that some ballots for the referendum arrived pre-marked in many cities and “there are massive anomalies in the vote.” The officials did not say what that evidence was.

The United States, European Union and others say the action violates the Ukrainian constitution and international law and took place in the strategic peninsula under duress of Russian military intervention. Putin maintained that the vote was legal and consistent with the right of self-determination, according to the Kremlin.

The administration officials said they will be looking at additional sanctions if Russia moves to annex Crimea or takes other action. Those targeted will have all U.S. assets frozen and no one in the United States can do business with them under Obama’s order.

“Today’s actions send a strong message to the Russian government that there are consequences for their actions that violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including their actions supporting the illegal referendum for Crimean separation,” the White House said in a statement.

“Today’s actions also serve as notice to Russia that unless it abides by its international obligations and returns its military forces to their original bases and respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the United States is prepared to take additional steps to impose further political and economic costs,” the statement said.

Administration officials say those Obama targeted also are key political players in Russia also responsible for the country’s tightening of human rights and civil liberties in the country. Obama’s order targets were:

Vladislav Surkov, a Putin aide

Sergey Glazyev, a Putin adviser

Leonid Slutsky, a state Duma deputy

Andrei Klishas, member of the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation

Valentina Matviyenko, head of the Federation Council

Dmitry Rogozin, deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation.

Yelena Mizulina, a state Duma deputy

The four newly targeted by the Treasury Department are:

Yanukovych, who fled Ukraine for Russia and has supported the dispatch of Russian troops into Ukraine

Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of Crimea separatist group Ukrainian Choice and a close friend of Putin

Sergey Aksyonov, prime minister of Crimea’s regional government

Vladimir Konstantinov, speaker of the Crimean parliament

© The Associated Press, 2014

2 Responses to Obama Announces Sanctions Against Russian Officials

  1. Pingback: Crimea Crisis: Putin Approves Draft Bill to Annex Crimea |

  2. R. Kimbrell Reply

    March 31, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    This to me is Obama getting involved where we have no business. Crimea is tired of working and their money going into the poor parts of the country. Becoming a part of Russia is better,[economically speaking] for them than staying with the Ukraine.
    Wow, imagine that, Obama wanting to take from hard workers and give it to others not supporting themselves. At least that’s how I see it.

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