Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The U.S. and European Union on Monday imposed sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian officials behind the destabilization of Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state.
President Barack Obama released a new executive order (EO) freezing U.S. assets and banning U.S. travel of Putin’s advisers and political allies namely presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, presidential adviser Sergey Glazyev, State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky, member of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament (the Federation Council) Andrey Klishas, head of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament Valentina Matvienko, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and State Duma deputy Yelena Mizulina.
The EO also imposed the same asset freeze and travel ban to Crimea-based separatist leaders Sergey Aksyonov and Vladimir Konstantinov; former Ukrainian presidential chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk; and former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.
Obama also authorize the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions on Russian government officials, any individual or entity that operates in the Russian arms industry, and any designated individual or entity that acts on behalf of or that provides material or other support to any senior Russian government official responsible for the deteriorating situation in Ukraine.
Obama said the sanctions are consequences for the officials’ actions that violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including their actions supporting the illegal referendum for Crimean separation.
“The United States, together with international partners, will continue to stand by the Ukrainian government to ensure that costs are imposed on Crimean separatists and their Russian backers,” Obama said. “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 EU sanction seizes the financial assets and denies entry into EU of 21 Russian officials and pro-Russian Ukrainians in Crimea. They include 10 lawmakers, three security chiefs, Russian Black Sea Fleet commander Alexander Vitko, Western District commander Alekseevich Sidorov, Southern District commander Alexander Galkin.
Putin was unmoved by the sanctions. He signed a decree recognizing the Ukrainian autonomous region of Crimea as a sovereign and independent state. The decree followed Sunday’s referendum in Crimea, where majority of voters chose to secede from Ukraine to join the Russian Federation.
The decree is seen as a prelude to Russia’s annexation of Crimea as sought by Crimean lawmakers and Sevastopol, the Crimean city hosting Russia’s Black Sea naval fleet.