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Cracks Now Appearing In Eastern Ukraine As Secession Talk Intensifies.


DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — More than 5,000 pro-Russia residents of a major city in Ukraine’s east demonstrated on Saturday in favor of holding a referendum on whether to seek to split off and become part of Russia.

The rally in Donetsk came less than a week after the Ukrainian region of Crimea approved secession in a referendum regarded as illegitimate by the Western countries. After the referendum, Russia moved to formally annex Crimea.

eastern-ukraine-secession-talks-intensifies-as-russian-troops-surround

Russia said on Friday it reserved the right to protect compatriots in eastern Ukraine after clashes in the city of Donetsk in which one person was killed. source – Business Insider

With Crimea now effectively under the control of Russian forces, which ring Ukrainian military bases on the strategic Black Sea peninsula, concern is rising that Ukraine’s eastern regions will agitate for a similar move.

Russia has brought large military contingents to areas near the border with eastern Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said there is no intention to move into eastern Ukraine, but the prospect of violence between pro- and anti-secession groups in the east could be used as a pretext for sending in troops.

Eastern Ukraine is the heartland of Ukraine’s economically vital heavy industry and mining and the support base for Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian president who fled to Russia last month after being ousted in the wake of three months of protests in the capital, Kiev.

Russia and Yanukovych supporters contend Yanukovych’s ouster was a coup and allege that the authorities who then came to power are nationalists who would oppress the east’s large ethnic Russian population.

“They’re trying to tear us away from Russia,” said demonstrator Igor Shapoval, a 59-year-old businessman. “But Donbass is ready to fight against this band which already lost Crimea and is losing in the east.”

Donbass is the name for the region of factories and mines that includes Donetsk. The demonstrators erected about several tents, an ironic echo of the massive tent camp that was established on Kiev’s central square after the protests against Yanukovych broke out in late November.

“I’m ready to live in a tent, but I’m not ready to submit to the West, to dance to their tune,” said Viktor Rudko, a 43-year-old miner.

The local parliament on Friday formed a working group to develop a referendum analogous to the one in Crimea. Activists on Saturday passed out mock ballots, although no referendum has been formally called.source – Yahoo News

by NTEB News Desk 

Russian Deputy PM Laughs at Obama Sanctions.


Kirit Radia (@kiritradia)

 

MOSCOW – Russia’s deputy prime minister laughed off President Obama’s sanction against him today asking “Comrade @BarackObama” if “some prankster” came up with the list.

The Obama administration hit 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials with sanctions today as punishment for Russia’s support of Crimea’s referendum. Among them: aides to President Vladimir Putin, a top government official, senior lawmakers, Crimean officials, the ousted president of Ukraine, and a Ukrainian politician and businessman allegedly tied to violence against protesters in Kiev.

It remains to be seen whether the sanctions will dissuade Russia from annexing Crimea, but one an early clue that they will not be effective came just hours later when President Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state, perhaps an early step towards annexation.

U.S. official have warned of additional sanctions for Russian action, hoping it will deter Russia from any further aggression towards Ukraine, but it didn’t appear to upset the often outspoke Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is seen in this July 17, 2012 file photo during a meeting with Indian Minister for External Affairs, S.M. Krishna in New Delhi. Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images

Rogozin, a friend of actor Steven Seagal, took to Twitter to tweak Obama, tweeting he thinks “some prankster” came up with the sanctions list

In a later tweet addressed to “Comrade @BarackObama,” he asked, “what should do those who have neither accounts nor property abroad? Or U didn’t think about it?”

Another Russian on the sanctions list, Vladislav Surkov, also seemed unconcerned.

Surkov, a top Putin ideologue often called the Kremlin’s grey cardinal, reportedly told a Russian newspaper, “It’s a big honor for me. I don’t have accounts abroad. The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.”

Here’s who gets hit with the sanctions:

U.S. officials said that, among the sanctioned individuals were the “key ideologists and architects” of Russia’s Ukraine policy, while adding that some of the Russian officials were included in the list for their role in curbing “human rights and liberties” in Russia.

The sanctions freeze any assets under American jurisdiction and prevent American banks from doing business with the named individual, essentially freezing them out of the international banking system. The sanctions also impose a ban on their travel to the United States. Separately, but in coordination with the White House, the European Union announced sanctions today on 21 individuals that it plans to name later. U.S. officials told reporters that the American and European lists “overlapped” in some area, but declined to say how.

While some of the sanctioned officials are bold faced names, the White House move is unlikely to affect Russia’s decision making with regard to Crimea’s bid to join the Russian Federation. Russia’s stock market actually improved on the news that so few officials were included on the list. U.S. officials warned that, if Russia does go ahead with annexation of Crimea, additional penalties will follow, with more, harsher measures to come if Russia attempts to enter eastern Ukraine.

Kremlin aides

Vladislav Surkov - An aide to President Vladimir Putin, he was once considered one of Russia’s most powerful men. He has been called the Kremlin’s “gray cardinal” for his role as a power broker behind the scenes. He’s also credited the architect of Russia’s political system, with power concentrated in the presidency. In the past he was credited with shaping the ideology of the ruling United Russia party. He has also written rock music lyrics and is rumored to have authored a book.

Sergei Glazyev - An economic aide to Putin who oversaw relations with Ukraine. He frequently blasted the protest movement in Kiev and was outspoken in his criticism of American and European support for the protests.

 

Top government official

Dmitry Rogozin - An outspoken, hawkish Deputy Prime Minister, he’s known to have a close friendship with Hollywood actor Steven Seagal. As a member of Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev’s government, Rogozin is responsible for the armed forces and arms industry.

Russian lawmakers

Elena Mizulina - A senior lawmaker, she is considered one of the Kremlin’s morality enforcers in the parliament. She is perhaps best known as the co-author of last year’s homosexual “propaganda” law which sparked outrage overseas. She also proposed a measure to give Ukrainians Russian passports.

Leonid Slutsky - A lawmaker in the lower house of Parliament. He is the chair of the Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration, and Relations with Compatriots. He was one of the Russian observers attending Sunday’s referendum in Crimea.

Andrei Klishas - A member of the upper house of Parliament, the Federation Council, who proposed retaliatory action in case of Western sanctions on Russia. He is chairman of the Federation Council Committee of Constitutional Law, Judicial, and Legal Affairs, and the Development of Civil Society. 

Valentina Matviyenko - The head of the Federation Council, she is the most senior lawmaker on the sanctions list.

 

Crimean officials

Sergey Aksyonov - Once an obscure pro-Russian politician in Crimea, he has now been declared the prime minister.

Vladimir Konstantinov - The newly declared speaker of Crimea’s parliament.

 

Ukrainian officials

Viktor Medvedchuk - A pro-Russian politician, he is being sanctioned for having “materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support” to impeached President Viktor Yanukovich. Ukraine’s opposition has accused him of orchestrating or aiding a crackdown on protesters and opposition.

Viktor Yanukovich - The ousted president of Ukraine. He was elected in 2010 but was chased from office by protests last month.

Israeli Defense Minister: Israel Can’t Rely on Obama on Iran.


Israel cannot depend on the United States to lead any action against Iran’s nuclear program and can only rely on itself, the country’s defense minister said in remarks published Tuesday.

The comments by Moshe Yaalon came as world powers and Iran were about to start a new round of talks over Iran’s contested nuclear program.

The West fears the program could be used to make a nuclear weapon and seeks to scale it back. Tehran denies the program has a military dimension and insists it is for peaceful purposes only, such as power generation. If a deal with world powers is reached, sanctions imposed on Iran over the nuclear program could be lifted.

Special: Powerful New Movie Reveals Alarming Threats on U.S. Border – See Trailer Here.

Israel has criticized the ongoing talks with Tehran, saying an interim nuclear deal, struck last November, has left Iran’s military nuclear capabilities largely intact while giving it relief from some economic sanctions.

At the same time, Israel’s strongest piece of leverage, the threat of a military strike on Iran, has taken a back stage to the talks despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s insistence it remains on the table.

Yaalon’s remarks seemed to underscore that insistence.

“We thought that the one who needs to lead the campaign against Iran is the U.S.,” Yaalon was quoted by the daily Haaretz as saying during a lecture at Tel Aviv University on Monday.

Instead, Yaalon said, the U.S. began negotiations with Iran and Iran gained the upper hand in the talks.

“If we wished others would do the work for us, it wouldn’t be done soon, and therefore in this matter, we have to behave as if we can only rely on ourselves,” Yaalon said.

Yaalon’s office confirmed his remarks but refused to comment whether he was advocating an Israeli strike on Iran. Netanyahu’s office also declined to comment.

Yaalon criticized the West, saying its leaders prefer to avoid confrontation with Iran. As for the U.S., the defense minister alleged American influence is waning in other parts of the world, such as Ukraine over the crisis there.

“Weakness certainly does not pay in the world,” he said. “No one can replace the U.S. as the world’s policeman. I hope the U.S. will come to its senses.”

Yaalon has made controversial comments about Washington in the past. In January, he was quoted as saying that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was “obsessive” and “messianic” over his Mideast peace efforts. The comments triggered an angry response from the U.S., Israel’s most important ally.

Special: Powerful New Movie Reveals Alarming Threats on U.S. Border – See Trailer Here.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Biden Arrives in Poland to Send Signal to Russia.


Stepping into a region on edge, Vice President Joe Biden came to Poland on Tuesday to reassure anxious allies that the U.S. will stand up to Russia’s aggression in neighboring Ukraine, even as Moscow brushes aside sanctions and stern warnings from the West.

Biden arrived in Warsaw on Tuesday morning for consultations with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and President Bronislaw Komorowski, a few hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a draft bill for the annexation of Crimea, one of a flurry of steps to formally take over the Black Sea peninsula. Crimea on Sunday voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and try to join Russia.

On Monday, the U.S. and the European Union levied the toughest sanctions on Russia since the Cold War.

In further meetings in the Polish capital and later in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, Biden was to discuss the crisis with the leaders of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia — three Baltic nations that are deeply concerned about what Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula might portend for the region. All four countries share borders with Russia; Poland also borders Ukraine.

Biden’s two-day trip is part of a broader U.S. campaign to step up pressure on Putin after Sunday’s referendum, dismissed by the U.S. as illegal. In coordination with Europe, the Obama administration has frozen the U.S. assets of nearly a dozen Russian and Ukrainian officials, although critics contend that amounts to a slap on the wrist that Moscow will blithely overlook.

In Warsaw and Vilnius, Biden will affirm the U.S. commitment to defending its NATO allies, which includes Poland and the three Baltic states but not Ukraine. A senior administration official said the vice president will discuss ways to strengthen the alliance so NATO emerges even stronger from the crisis, and will echo Obama by insisting that if Russia continues to flout international law, the costs will only increase.

Biden will also discuss what additional steps the U.S. can take to shore up security for Poland and the Baltics, such as increased training, said the official, who wasn’t authorized to comment by name and demanded anonymity.

Also on the agenda: long-term energy security in Europe, a key factor that has confounded the West’s attempts to display a united front in punishing Russia. Much of Europe is heavily dependent on Russian natural gas, and European countries have major economic interests in Russia that could be in jeopardy if Moscow retaliates with sanctions of its own.

Biden plans to address energy diversification within Europe, but will also discuss how the U.S. can help, said the official, declining to offer more details

Republican lawmakers and a handful of European countries, including Poland, have urged the White House to accelerate approval of U.S. natural gas exports to help Europe wean itself off its dependence on Russia. The White House has insisted that would take too long to help the current crisis and says Russia is too dependent on gas revenues to cut off supplies to Europe.

One option that doesn’t appear to be on the table: rethinking the U.S. posture on missile defense in the region. Poland is still bruised from Obama’s 2009 decision to cancel the final phase of a defense system sorely desired by Poland as a hedge against Russian missiles. The official said Biden will reassure Poland that the smaller, phased-in system Obama chose instead is on schedule, but won’t be discussing potential changes.

 

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Republicans Brace for Sign that Jeb Bush May Run in 2016.


By all appearances, former Florida governor Jeb Bush is a man on a mission.

His itinerary for the next several weeks includes stops in Tennessee, New Mexico and Nevada to appear with Republican candidates in this fall’s elections or help them raise money for their campaigns.

And then he speaks at a dinner ahead of a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting featuring several potential Republican presidential contenders at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The hotel is owned by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who gave over $100 million to Republican candidates in 2012.

Urgent: Who Should Be 2016 GOP Presidential Nominee? 

So what, exactly, is Jeb Bush up to? Could Bush, 61, the son of a U.S. president and the brother of another, quietly be laying the groundwork for a historic attempt to become the third member of his family to occupy the White House?

When Bush is asked if he will run in 2016, he deflects, saying he will decide by the end of this year based on family considerations and whether he thinks he can run “joyfully.”

Bush’s spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell, declined to comment.

But several other people close to him say that now more than ever, there are signs he might look past several potential hurdles – including polls that suggest Americans are not exactly enthralled with the idea of another President Bush – and seriously consider stepping into the fray.

At this point in previous election cycles when his name has surfaced, Bush has told friends, staffers and fellow Florida politicians that he would not run. However, he “has not given anyone the wave-off at this point” for 2016, said a Washington-based Republican strategist familiar with Bush’s discussions about the presidency.

To the contrary, this strategist said, Bush has in place an “inner circle” of fewer than a dozen people who are in regular contact with him weighing the pros and cons of running. “They are at the beginning of a very serious conversation.”

A former Bush campaign aide who remains in contact with the former governor said this year’s speculation is more warranted than that in previous years: “He’s really giving it true consideration. Possibly if you’d asked two years ago, we’d say, ‘Oh gosh, I don’t think he’d do this.’ But I think he’s giving it a real, serious look now.”

Former Republican senator Mel Martinez of Florida, who was secretary of housing and urban development during the presidency of Bush’s brother, George W. Bush, said that in Jeb Bush’s south Florida there is a growing belief among political observers that he is leaning toward joining what promises to be a crowded field of Republican presidential contenders.

Republican strategists said that Bush – whose eight years as Florida’s governor ended in January 2007 – could change the dynamic of the Republican nomination battle and provide a defining moment for a party struggling with a divide between conservative Tea Party activists and more moderate members of the Republican establishment.

There are no declared candidates yet, but the race for the Republican nomination appears to be shaping up as a contest largely among staunch conservatives favored by the Tea Party movement, such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz, libertarian Republican Rand Paul and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. A more moderate potential candidate, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has been caught up in a political scandal that has made some Wall Street donors nervous about his prospects.

A campaign by Bush, a face of the party establishment, could challenge arguments of Tea Party activists and others on the right who see losses by John McCain and Mitt Romney in the last two presidential elections as reasons the party should nominate a more strictly conservative candidate.

For big-money Republican donors, strategist Matt Mackowiak said, Bush would represent a marquee name in U.S. politics that could attract the support beyond the far-right Republican base that will be needed to win a general election. He could also bring enough star power to vie against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who officials in both parties expect to run and win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Bush is the donor class’ first choice in his home state, said Florida Bankers Association president and Romney campaign bundler Alex Sanchez.

 

‘JEB IS THE EXCEPTION’

For pundits, political observers and history lovers, the prospect of a Bush-Clinton battle for the White House would be a dream matchup: a showdown between two branches of America’s political royalty.

Recent early polls have suggested that if he were to run, Jeb Bush would be weighed down by Americans’ lingering attitudes toward his brother, who left office in January 2009 as one of the least popular presidents in U.S. history. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll this month, nearly half of the voters surveyed said they “definitely would not” vote for Jeb Bush in 2016 – a level of disapproval matched only by Romney.

Even Bush’s mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, has been lukewarm about the notion of another son running for president.

“There’s no question in my mind that Jeb is the best qualified person to run for president, but I hope he won’t, because he’ll get all my enemies, all his brother’s,” Barbara Bush, wife of George H.W. Bush, told C-SPAN in January. She softened her stance in an interview with Fox News this month, saying that “maybe it’s OK” if Jeb were to run.

For a Republican Party desperate to broaden its appeal among the nation’s fast-growing and Democratic-leaning Hispanic population, a figure like Jeb Bush could be significant. He speaks Spanish and his wife, Columba, was born in Mexico. Bush – who won 61 percent of Florida’s Hispanic vote in his 1998 governor’s race, according to exit polls – has backed legal status, but not full citizenship, for undocumented immigrants. This compromise drew conservative fire when Bush’ promoted his book “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution” in 2013.

As governor, he also stressed using standardized test scores as metrics of school and teacher performances, an emphasis at the center of a nationwide debate in U.S. education. Bush, who runs an education foundation, has also promoted the idea of allowing parents and students a choice of which public school to attend.

Bush headlined a Republican National Committee fundraising lunch in southern California in February and spoke to a group of New York-area business leaders less than two weeks later. He also appeared in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce advertisement for the Republican candidate in a Florida special congressional election, and campaigned with his son, George P. Bush, who is running for Texas Land Commissioner.

In the coming weeks Bush will raise money for or appear with a slate of Republicans up for re-election in 2014: Senator Lamar Alexander and Governor Bill Haslam in Tennessee, Governor Susana Martinez in New Mexico and Governor Brian Sandoval in Nevada.

Some Bush allies reject the idea that his recent activity reflects a building desire to run for president.

“People who know a lot aren’t talking, and the people who are talking don’t know. He’s made clear he’s going to be deliberate and methodical in the way he goes about this,” said former Florida congressman Tom Feeney, who ran for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Bush in 1994 and remains close with him.

Several Republican strategists and Bush loyalists said it would take less time for Bush to organize a full-scale campaign team than it would for someone like Walker or Cruz, thanks to his family’s experience and connections. They also dismissed concerns that Bush would have trouble running a modern campaign, given that he has not run for office since 2002 – before the age of Twitter and the Tea Party.

“Jeb is the exception,” said Mackowiak. “The time it takes to build a national finance operation for one of those other candidates? He only has to spend a fraction of that to get his together. … The clock is ticking for him, it’s just ticking more slowly.”

Urgent: Who Should Be 2016 GOP Presidential Nominee? 

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Putin Assembles Blacklist of US Leaders for Asset and Travel Ban to Russia.


President Vladimir Putin has reportedly assembled a blacklist of Obama administration officials and U.S. senators, including Majority Whip Dick Durbin, banning their travel and freezing any assets there.

Putin’s sanctions are expected to come Tuesday, The Daily Beast reported, citing diplomatic sources.

The retaliatory slap comes in the wake of President Obama’s asset and travel ban Monday on seven Russian officials and four Ukrainian officials.

At the top of Putin’s tit-for-tat list is the Illinois Democrat, who with fellow Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen.Jeffrey Flake, R-Ariz., passed a measure last week to give Ukraine financial aid and impose sanctions on Russia.

“Are we going to stand by and say this is acceptable conduct? Because this isn’t the end of his ambition,” Durbin said on NBC’s Meet the Press” Sunday.

Durbin’s listing would mirror that of Valentina Matvienko, the head of the upper chamber of the Russian Duma, who wound up on Obama’s sanction list, The Daily Beast pointed out.

“My Lithuanian-born mother would be proud her son made Vladimir Putin’s American enemies list,” Durbin said in a statement to the newssite.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, who’s been to Kiev to meet with Ukrainian leaders, said he fully expects to be on the Putin enemies list — and couldn’t be more pleased.

“You think I’m not going to be on it?” McCain asked The Daily Beast. “I would be honored to be on that list,” then joked: “I guess I’m going to have to try to withdraw my money from my secret account in St. Petersburg.”

The Daily Beast said other names that may be listed, but that the news site had not confirmed, include Sens. Robert Menendez , D-NJ,  and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., also members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee leading a sanctions drive, and Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for Europe, who’s been been working with the Ukrainian opposition.

McCain told The Daily Beast the U.S. cannot bend to any of Russia’s sanctions.
“If we acquiesced to that, that would be a green light for him to go for Moldova, where there are also Russian troops,” he said. “That’s the problem with this appeasement policy.”
McCain wants even stronger measures against Putin to thwart any possible expansion of the invasion.

“… Putin has put everything in place for a de facto partition of Eastern Ukraine,” he told The Daily Beast. “Will he do it? I don’t know. But I don’t think he can be discouraged from that by these limited actions by the United States…. We must commit to the ultimate return of Crimea to Ukraine, just as we promised to the so-called captive nations that they would eventually be free of Soviet domination.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Cathy Burke

Obama Imposes Sanctions on 11 Russians, Ukrainians Over Crimea Move.


Image: Obama Imposes Sanctions on 11 Russians, Ukrainians Over Crimea Move

By Newsmax Wires

In the most comprehensive sanctions against Russia since the end of the Cold War, President Barack Obama on Monday froze the U.S. assets of seven Russian officials, including top advisers to President Vladimir Putin, for their support of Crimea’s vote to secede from Ukraine.Obama said he was moving to “increase the cost” to Russia, and he warned that more people could face financial punishment.

“If Russia continues to interfere in Ukraine, we stand ready to impose further sanctions,” Obama said. He added in a brief statement from the White House that he still believes there could be a diplomatic resolution to the crisis and that the sanctions can be calibrated based on whether Russia escalates or pulls back in its involvement.

The Treasury Department also is imposing sanctions on four Ukrainians — including former President Viktor Yanukovych and others who have supported Crimea’s separation — under existing authority under a previous Obama order. Senior administration officials also said they are developing evidence against individuals in the arms industry and those they described as “Russian government cronies” to target their assets.

The administration officials said Putin wasn’t sanctioned despite his support of the Crimean referendum because the United States doesn’t usually begin with heads of state. But the officials, speaking to reporters on a conference call on the condition they not be quoted by name, say those sanctioned are very close to Putin and that the sanctions are “designed to hit close to home.”

The U.S. announcement came shortly after the European Union announced travel bans and asset freezes on 21 people they have linked to the unrest in Crimea. Obama administration officials say there is some overlap between the United States and European list, which wasn’t immediately made public.

The sanctions were expected after residents in Crimea voted overwhelmingly Sunday in favor of the split. Crimea’s parliament on Monday declared the region an independent state.

The administration officials say there is some concrete evidence that some ballots for the referendum arrived premarked in many cities and “there are massive anomalies in the vote.” The officials did not say what that evidence was.

The United States, European Union, and others say the action violates the Ukrainian constitution and international law and took place in the strategic peninsula under duress of Russian military intervention. Putin maintained that the vote was legal and consistent with the right of self-determination, according to the Kremlin.

The administration officials said they will be looking at additional sanctions if Russia moves to annex Crimea or takes other action. Those targeted will have all U.S. assets frozen and no one in the United States can do business with them under Obama’s order.

“Today’s actions send a strong message to the Russian government that there are consequences for their actions that violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including their actions supporting the illegal referendum for Crimean separation,” the White House said in a statement.

“Today’s actions also serve as notice to Russia that unless it abides by its international obligations and returns its military forces to their original bases and respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the United States is prepared to take additional steps to impose further political and economic costs,” the statement said.

Administration officials say those Obama targeted also are key political players in Russia also responsible for the country’s tightening of human rights and civil liberties in the country. Obama’s order targets were:

  • Vladislav Surkov, a Putin aide;
  • Sergey Glazyev, a Putin adviser;
  • Leonid Slutsky, a state Duma deputy;
  • Andrei Klishas, member of the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation;
  • Valentina Matviyenko, head of the Federation Council;
  • Dmitry Rogozin, deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation;
  • Yelena Mizulina, a state Duma deputy.

The four newly targeted by the Treasury Department are:

  • Yanukovych, who fled Ukraine for Russia and has supported the dispatch of Russian troops into Ukraine;
  • Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of Crimea separatist group Ukrainian Choice and a close friend of Putin;
  • Sergey Aksyonov, prime minister of Crimea’s regional government;
  • Vladimir Konstantinov, speaker of the Crimean parliament.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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