President Barack Obama on Thursday announced additional sanctions on Russia amid its continuing aggression toward Ukraine.
“We've seen an illegal referendum in Crimea and illegitimate moves by the Russians to annex Crimea and dangerous risks of escalation with threats to Ukrainian personnel in Crimea and threats to southern and eastern Ukraine as well,” Obama said at the White House. “These are all choices the Russian government has made, choices that have been rejected by the international community as well as the government of Ukraine.”
Following Sunday's vote, the U.S. announced financial sanctions against seven Russian officials who were part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle and had warned that more could be coming.
“Because of these choices, the United States is moving as we said we would to impose additional costs on Russia,” Obama said. “Based on the executive order I signed in response to Russia's intervention in Ukraine, we are imposing sanctions on more senior officials on the Russian government.”
He promised the new sanctions would target more Russian officials as well as financial institutions that would impact the Russian economy.
“In addition, we are sanctioning a number of other individuals with substantial resources and influence to provide material support as well as a bank that provides material support to these individuals,” Obama said.
A new executive order will allow the U.S. to expand its sanctions, which the president said could impact the global economy.
“As part of that process, I signed a new executive order today that gives us the authority to up -- to impose sections on not just individuals but key sectors of the Russian economy. This is not our preferred outcome. These sanctions would not only have a significant impact on the economy but could be disruptive to the global economy. However, Russia must know that further escalation will only isolated further from the international community.”
Following Obama's announcement, senior administration officials told reporters the White House is extremely “concerned” that Russian troop movements along the eastern border of Ukraine could signal plans by Moscow to move further into Ukraine, though said the administration is not considering supplying anything beyond non-lethal support to Ukraine’s military,
“Further escalating the conflict through the introduction of U.S. military forces is not something anybody is suggesting,” one senior official said. “What we have done is consult the Ukrainians — number one, about how to help with the immediate needs in terms of the economy and meeting the basic needs of their people. … We’ve been in touch with Ukrainian military officials about how they’re viewing the situation and responding to Russian provocations. We have also considered what types of support we can provide to Ukrainians and the Pentagon has been reviewing that on a regular basis.”
TheBlaze's Sara Carter contributed to this report.