America Will Impose Sanctions On 11 Russian And Ukraine Officials, But Russia's Deputy PM Isn't All That Worried
On Monday, President Barack Obama announced that America has imposed sanctions on 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials, for financial and travel purposes. The sanctions come in response to Sunday's referendum, in which Crimea citizens voted to declare independence from the state of Ukraine, amid claims of intimidation and poll-rigging. Seven Russian officials will suffer a freezing of their assets, along with four Crimean officials, including ousted former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
The sanctions are the most direct action the United States has taken against Russia since it stepped up its military presence in Crimea weeks ago. The targeted officials include prominent names in the Russian government: Vladislav Surkov, in particular, a longtime adviser to Putin, who was reportedly instrumental in engineering Russia's approach to Ukraine.
But the man in charge will skate, at least for the time being: No such sanctions have been placed on Putin, who will soon address a joint session of the Crimean parliament.
American officials have cautioned Russia that more sanctions may be to come if that joint-session speech contains what they're expecting — namely, a declaration by Putin that Russia will indeed annex Crimea. Such a plan would, by Obama's word, "further isolate Russia and diminish its place in the world."
Both Obama and top U.S. officials have had strong words for the Russian government and its designs on Crimea — one administration official called Monday's actions "by far the most comprehensive sanctions applied to Russia since the end of the Cold War," according to the New York Times — but it's difficult to imagine rhetoric alone turning back the tide at this point.
None of those sanctioned are believed to hold any financial interests or assets based out of the U.S., and the sanctions do not extend to their families, a move which would've had a far greater effect on those the Obama administration is targeting. Russian deputy prime minister Dimitry Rogozin, for one, has responded by openly ridiculing Obama via Twitter.
Tha tweet, for the record, as translated by Buzzfeed:
Feels like some clown wrote the U.S. president’s order :)
Suffice to say, he doesn't sound too worried. Putin's address to the Crimean parliament is scheduled for Tuesday, according to a Kremlin representative.