U.S., EU sanction Russian, Ukrainian officials

Monday, March 17, 2014

Obama and the EU impose sanctions on Russian and Ukrainian officials following Crimea's

Obama and the EU impose sanctions on Russian and Ukrainian officials following Crimea's "yes" vote to joining Russia.

WASHINGTON D.C. - The Obama administration sanctioned seven Russian and four Ukrainian officials Monday following Sunday’s referendum in Crimea.

"Today I'm announcing a series of measures that will continue to increase the cost on Russia and on those responsible for what is happening in Ukraine," said U.S. President Barack Obama speaking at the White House.

"We are imposing sanctions on specific individuals responsible for undermining the sovereignty, territorial integrity and government of Ukraine. We're making it clear that there are consequences for their actions."

The sanctions target top aides and advisors to Russian President Vladimir Putin, including Dmitry Rogozin, deputy prime minister responsible for the defense industry, Russian Duma deputies, the head and chairman of Russia’s Federation Council.

The Ukrainian's targeted include ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov, the leader of Ukrainian political party Ukrainian Choice, and the speaker of the Crimean parliament.

The seven Russian officials were designated under the new executive order, while the four Ukrainian officials were targeted using a previously established order.

Senior administration officials, who cannot be named, said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not included in Monday’s list because "we do not begin these types of sanctions efforts with a head of state," but the naming of his aides was designed to "hit close to home.”

They added that the sanctions are the most comprehensive on Russia since the Cold War.

Monday’s announcement follows yesterday’s poll in which Crimean residents voted to split from Ukraine and unite with Russia. The U.S. officials cast doubt on the vote's legitimacy, saying that some ballots arrived at polling stations pre-marked, and noted "massive anomalies in the vote."

The EU targeted 21 officials in their own sanctions Monday.

EU's list included Ukrainian Prime Minister Aksyonov; Vladimir Andreevich Konstantinov, speaker of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, as well as Russia's Viktor Alekseevich Ozerov, chairman of the Security and Defense Committee of the Federation Council; Evgeni Viktorovich Bushmin, deputy speaker of the Federation Council; Sergei Vladimirovich Zheleznyak, deputy speaker of the State Duma; and Russian Vice-Admiral Aleksandr Viktorovich Vitko, commander of the Black Sea Fleet, for commanding Russian forces that have occupied Ukrainian sovereign territory.

The European Union looking at the same set of circumstances made slightly different choices in some areas, but the lists have overlap, both in terms of names and in terms of categories of people, though they are, as I said, not identical," said one EU official.

It was further stated that additional sanctions could be applied if Russia furthers its military activities or annexes Ukraine and that Moscow stands to lose more than Washington "from political and economic isolation."

The EU has also temporarily removed customs duties on Ukrainian exports and has confirmed that it will help the country with sourcing energy supplies.

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