President Barack Obama has launched additional sanctions against Russia over the Crimea crisis, targeting not just officials, but the nation’s financial sector as well.
Speaking on the White House’s South Lawn Thursday morning, Obama announced that he will “impose additional costs” on Russia after the nation’s parliament voted to annex Crimea into the Russian Federation. According to Obama, the newly-signed executive order “gives us the authority to impose sanctions not just on individuals but on key sectors of the Russian economy.”
"This is not our preferred outcome," Obama said. "These sanctions would not only have a significant impact on the Russian economy, but could also be disruptive to the global economy. However, Russia must now that further escalation will only isolate it further from the international community."
Obama added that the sanctions will be levied at higher-ranking Russian officials as well as "a number of other individuals with substantial resources and influence who provide material support to the Russian leadership, as well as a bank that provides material support to these individuals." Vladimir Putin's banker, Yuri Valentinovich Kovalchuk, is reportedly among those targeted by the sanctions.
Less than an hour after Obama announced a second round of sanctions against Russian officials, Russia responded by announcing retaliatory sanctions against U.S. officials. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., are among those who have been banned from entering Russia in response to the increased sanctions. Boehner said he was "proud" to be on "a list those willing to stand against Putin's aggression."
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This is the second round of sanctions against Russian officials announced by Obama this week. Following Crimea’s vote to secede Ukraine and join Russia on Monday, Obama announced sanctions against seven high-ranking Russian officials: Putin aide Vladislav Surkov, adviser Sergey Glazyev, State Deputy Leonid Slutsky, Council of the Federal Assembly member Andrei Klishas, Federation Council head Valentina Matviyenko, Russian Federation Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina.
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his former Chief of Staff Viktor Medvedchuk were also named in the order, as were Crimean separatist leaders Sergey Aksyonov and Vladimir Konstantinov.