Fox News (March 20) – The Russian government slapped sanctions on top U.S. officials on Thursday, moments after President Obama imposed penalties on 20 Russians inside and outside the government — as diplomatic efforts over Ukraine unraveled into a long-distance tit for tat.
The newest sanctions would bar nine American officials from entering Russia. The list includes House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Just as Vladimir Putin’s government shrugged off U.S. sanctions earlier in the week, so did the Americans targeted by Moscow.
“The Speaker is proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against Putin’s aggression,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement.
McCain tweeted that he’s “proud to be sanctioned by Putin.”
As each side imposes sanctions, left unclear is whether any of them will have an effect on the standoff over Russia’s widely challenged annexation of Crimea.
Obama, warning of more costs to come for the Kremlin if the situation worsens, said he also signed an executive order that would allow the U.S. to penalize key sectors of the Russian economy. Officials said Obama could act on that authority if Russian forces press into other areas of Ukraine, an escalation of the crisis in Crimea.
The president, speaking on the South Lawn of the White House, voiced concern that Russian military positioning could point to “further incursions” into southern and eastern Ukraine.
The president cautioned that the threatened economic measures if implemented could hurt the global economy, as well as the Russian economy, but “Russia must know that further escalation will only isolate it further from the international community.”
For the time being, Obama said the U.S. will levy sanctions on more “senior officials of the Russian government,” as well as “a number of individuals” supporting Russian leadership — and a bank, Bank Rossiya, that is likewise providing “material support.” The list includes Putin’s chief of staff and his banker.
Read more here: Original Post Here http://worldmediamonitoring.com/putin-returns-favour-russia-hits-officials-sanction-obama-expands-penalties/ by Gabriel Rosenberg Originally posted on http://worldmediamonitoring.com