U.S. steps up sanctions on Russian officials

n13-iconThe New York Times reports: The United States, working in coordination with Europe, imposed a new round of sanctions on prominent Russian officials on Monday as the showdown over Ukraine reached a new stage of confrontation between East and West.

President Obama signed an executive order freezing the assets and banning visas for a number of Russians deemed to be responsible for the seizing of Crimea or otherwise interfering in Ukrainian sovereignty. Among those targeted were several officials in President Vladimir V. Putin’s inner circle, and the White House threatened to go after more if Russia did not back down.

“We have fashioned these sanctions to impose costs on named individuals who wield influence in the Russian government and those responsible for the deteriorating situation in Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement. “We stand ready to use these authorities in a direct and targeted fashion as events warrant.”

In a conference call briefing reporters, a senior administration official who was not permitted to be named under the ground rules said, “These are by far the most comprehensive sanctions applied to Russia since the end of the Cold War — far and away so.” [Continue reading…]

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