Obama, EU Impose Sanctions on Russian Officials

Obama, EU Impose Sanctions on Russian Officials

President Obama and the European Union passed sanctions against Russia and Crimeans who are responsible for Crimea’s referendum to join Russia and leave Ukraine.

Obama signed the executive order early Monday morning, which expanded on EO 13660 he signed two weeks ago. The sanction affects seven people, including deposed Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych. The order gives Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew and Secretary of State John Kerry permission to work together and to impose sanctions on others who work closely with the Russian government.

The EU imposed travel bans and asset freezes on 21 people after a meeting in Brussels on Monday morning. The list of people was not released right away, but two diplomats spoke to the Associated Press.

Two diplomats said the sanctions targeted 13 Russians and eight people from Crimea. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because the breakdown of the nationalities had not been officially announced.

On Sunday, Crimeans hit the polls and voted to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. The US and EU said the referendum was illegal and did not recognize the outcome. Both told Putin numerous times there would be harsh sanctions if Russia did not cancel the referendum.

Leading up to the referendum Obama imposed visa bans on Russians and Crimeans and cancelled all trade and military exercises with Russia. British Prime Minister talked a tough game, but after leaders met in London they only sanctioned a few lower-level people involved in Russia’s seizure of Crimea and not Putin and his rich friends with London connections.

Canada already recalled their ambassador to Russia and cancelled their appearance at the G8 summit in Sochi. Obama told Putin the US will boycott the summit while the UK and France halted their preparatory meetings.

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