WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) -- President Obama announced Monday that he is leveling new sanctionsagainst seven Russian officials who his administration says havecontributed to the crisis in Ukraine, one day after the Crimean regionof Ukraine voted overwhelming to join Russia.
In comments at theWhite House, Obama said he believes there is still a diplomatic solutionto end the crisis. At the same time, he warned that if Russia continuesto interfere with Ukraine's sovereignty he stands ready to push foreven tougher sanctions.
"We are imposing sanctions on specificindividuals for undermining the sovereignty, territorial integrity andgovernment of Ukraine," Obama said."We are making it clear that thereare consequences for their actions."
The high-level governmentofficials named by the White House are: Vladislav Surkov, SergeyGlazyev, Leonid Slutsky, Andrei Klishas, Valentina Matviyenko, DmitryRogozin, and Yelena Mizulina.
Surkov and Glazyev are presidentialadvisers to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The five other holdvarious positions in the Russian parliament and Russian government.
Onesenior administration official described the officials being targetedas the "key ideologists" and "architects" of the Russian militaryincursion into Crimea.
"These are by far the most comprehensivesanctions applied to Russia since the end of the Cold War--far and awayso," said the official, who asked not to be identified so as not topreempt Obama's statement.
The sanctions focus on the individualpersonal assets, but not companies that the officials may manage onbehalf of the Russian state. Any assets that the individuals have inU.S. jurisdiction have been frozen and Americans are prohibited fromdoing business with them.
"The United States also will seek tohold accountable individuals who use their resources or influence tosupport or act on behalf of senior Russian government officials," theWhite House said in a statement. "We recognize that the Russianleadership derives significant support from, and takes action through,individuals who do not themselves serve in any official capacity. "
Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join Russia during Sunday's hastily arranged referendum.
RussianPresident Vladimir Putin is expected to speak on the Crimea situationin a special address to the Russian parliament on Tuesday.
Obamaspoke by phone on Sunday with Putin, and reiterated that the UnitedStates would not accept the results of the referendum. He again calledon Putin to support a diplomatic solution to the crisis, whileunderscoring that one cannot be reached if Russian troops continue to bedeployed in Crimea.
The Treasury Department also announced it isimposing sanctions against former President Viktor Yanukovych, formerUkrainian presidential chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk as well asCrimea-based separatist leaders Sergey Aksyonov and VladimirKonstantinov.
The White House announcement came after the EuropeanUnion announced on Monday travel bans and asset freezes on 21 peoplefor their involvement in the Ukraine crisis. The EU is not expected toannounce the individuals who are being cited until Tuesday, but Obamaadministration officials believe there is some overlap in the the U.S.and EU lists.
Vice President Biden will visit Poland andLithuania next week, where he is to huddle with leaders in the region onthe Ukraine crisis. Obama will travel to the Netherlands next week totake part in the biennial Nuclear Security Summit, but the situation inUkraine will be the main focus on the sidelines of the summit.
"If Russia continues to interfere in Ukraine, we stand ready to impose further sanctions," Obama said.
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