Obama authorizes sanctions on Russia

President Obama on Thursday authorized new sanctions on Russia that will restrict travel and freeze the assets of people the Obama administration identifies as being involved in the invasion of Crimea.

Obama also criticized plans by local officials in Crimea to hold a secession vote to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation, which he said would violate the Ukrainian constitution and international law.


“Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine,” Obama told reporters at the White House. “In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders."

The order for sanctions comes less than a week after Russian forces entered Crimea, a region of eastern Ukraine that was a part of Russia until 1954.

Obama said the sanctions were punishment for Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s “territorial integrity,” and that those named in the order were guilty of “stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people.

Individuals designated by the administration as having ordered or aided the Russian incursion into Crimea could see their ability to travel to the U.S. restricted. The government could also freeze assets held by those individuals in the country.

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