Obama orders expanded sanctions if Russia escalates

Under a new executive order signed by President Barack Obama, sanctions against Russia will be expanded from individuals to more senior officials of the Russian government and individuals “with substantial resources and influence,” who provide material support to the Russian leadership. A bank was also mentioned, in a statement by President Obama Thursday. He gave no further details. He also referred to “two sectors of the economy” that would be targeted if Russia “continued to escalate.” He referred to  “dangerous threats to Ukrainian personnel in Crimea and eastern and southern Ukraine. Obama was not clear on whether the new sanctions were already in force or conditional on Moscow’s conduct.

When he attends the G7 next week – no longer the G8 after Russia’s exclusion – the US president will seek an assistance package for the Ukraine government. He again called on Moscow to support a diplomatic solution for its relations with Ukraine and acceptance of its people’s right to choose relations with anyone they choose.

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