One day after freezing the assets and restricting the visas of 20 Ukrainian officials, the Obama administration announced Thursday that it’s “actively considering” imposing even more sanctions on the country’s embattled leaders. These could include economic sanctions, which Obama would implement via executive order. White House spokesman Josh Earnest made the announcement mere hours after foreign ministers at the European Union voted to introduce their own sanctions against Ukrainian officials.
"The president and senior members of his team have been acting quickly to consider the range of options that are available and acting with a sense of urgency, because of the terrible violence that we saw overnight," Earnest said.
There was a glimmer of hope on Wednesday that the months-long conflict in Ukraine, which has worsened drastically over the past couple of weeks, might have been nearing a resolution, as President Viktor Yanukovych announced a truce between his administration and opposition leaders. But that truce collapsed later in the day, and the situation quickly deteriorated even further: Since Thursday morning, around 100 people have been killed in the capitol city of Kiev, while 70 Ukrainian police officers have reportedly been captured by protesters.
On midday Thursday, Ukraine’s parliament dealt a symbolic blow to Yanukovych by passing a resolution calling for state security forces to end their “anti-terrorist” crackdown and release all imprisoned protesters. While Yanukovych may or may not abide by the resolution, the passage of the resolution suggests that his support from within the country is eroding.