Two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin moved to formally annex Crimea in the ongoing Ukraine crisis, President Barack Obama announced some tougher sanctions on Russia which he says "could be disruptive to the global economy."
"I signed a new executive order today that gives us the authority to impose sanctions not just on individuals but on key sectors of the Russian economy. This is not our preferred outcome. These sanctions would not only have a significant impact on the Russian economy but could also be disruptive to the global economy," declared President Obama in a statement Thursday.
Before announcing the additional costs, Obama cited the recent activities in the Ukraine including "an illegal referendum in Crimea, an illegitimate move by the Russians to annex Crimea and dangerous risks of escalation including threats to Ukrainian personnel in Crimea and threats to Southern and Eastern Ukraine" as the reasons for the additional sanctions.
"Based on the executive order that I signed in response to Russia's initial intervention in Ukraine, we're imposing sanctions on more senior officials in the Russian government. In addition we are today sanctioning a number of other individuals with substantial resources and influence who provide material support to the Russian leadership as well as a bank that provides material support to these individuals," he said.
The U.S. Treasury provides a list of the sanctioned individuals on its website as well as the name of the bank sanctioned with them — Bank Rossiya.
President Obama emphasized that while a diplomatic path for a solution to the crisis is still available to Russia, the United States is preparing with NATO allies and others for further action.
"Diplomacy between the United States and Russia continues, we've emphasized that Russia still has a different path available. One that de-escalates the situation and one that involves Russia pursuing a diplomatic solution with the government in Kiev with the support of the international community. The Russian people need to know and Mr. Putin needs to understand that the Ukrainians shouldn't have to choose between the West and Russia," said the president.
"The world is watching with grave concern as Russia has positioned its military in a way that could lead to further incursion into Southern and Eastern Ukraine," warned Obama who will be travelling to Europe to meet with the G-7 and other European and Asian allies next week.
"For this reason, we've been working closely with our European partners to develop more severe actions that could be taken if Russia continues to escalate the situation," he said.