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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.

Putin Asks Parliament For Official Approval To Invade Ukraine.


Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked the country’s senators to approve sending Russian troops to Ukraine to settle the situation there. Russian MPs have said that the turmoil in Crimea could allow for such a move.

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Earlier on Saturday, the speaker of the Russian State Duma Council Valentina Matvienko said that the current circumstances in Ukraine make such a move possible.

The final decision to send troops to Crimea lies with President Vladimir Putin as Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, speaker of the Russian State Duma Council Valentina Matvienko said. The current circumstances make such a move possible, she said.

“It’s possible in this situation, complying with a request by the Crimean government, even to bring a limited contingent of our troops to ensure the safety of the Black Sea Fleet and the Russian citizens living on Crimean territory. The decision is for the president, the chief military commander, to make, of course. But today, taking the situation into account, even that variant can’t be excluded. We need to protect the people,” Matvienko said.

The Russian government has so far been careful in its assessment of the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian government in Kiev. Matvienko said the reason for that was Russia counting on its Western partners, who vowed to guarantee the February 21 agreements between Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and the opposition.

“Russia did not interfere in the situation in Ukraine for a very long time and showed restraint, assuming that the Western states, which became backers of the agreements, would see that strict compliance with the deal is observed,” she said.

However, after “violent upheaval” took place in Ukraine, the Western states did not come up with “any reasonable measures or responses,” Matvienko said.

Russia, in contrast, for a very long time has urged the situation to be resolved by lawful means, and called for the anti-coup sentiments in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine to be heard, she said.

“Not seeing an adequate reaction from the West, we could no longer maintain status quo,” the speaker concluded.
Matvienko stated as thousands of pro-Russian demonstrators rallied in the Crimean cities of Simferopol, Melitopol, Yevpatoria and Mariupol, protesting against the rule of new Kiev authorities. source -RT

by NTEB News Desk

Olympics-Bound Airlines Warned of Toothpaste Bombs.


Airlines bound for Russia and the Winter Olympics in Sochi are being warned to be on the lookout for toothpaste tubes that could contain bomb-making ingredients and may be smuggled aboard by terrorists, reports said Wednesday.

“Out of an abundance of caution, [the Department of Homeland Security] regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners, including those associated with international events such as the Sochi Olympics,” says an agency statement obtained by ABC News, NBC News and CNN.

“While we are not aware of a specific threat to the homeland at this time, this routine communication is an important part of our commitment to making sure we meet that priority,” the statement says.

“As always, our security apparatus includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, and DHS will continue to adjust security measures to fit an ever-evolving threat environment.”

Earlier Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN that “anybody who wants to go to the Olympics, which are just a great event, should go. And we’re not telling people not to go.”

Kerry’s comments came before the advisory was reported, however.

A federal law enforcement source told ABC News the advisory is aimed at foreign airliners — and doesn’t relate to the United States. The Russian government has been informed.

But New York Republican Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence, told CNN the threat should be a heads-up for U.S. travelers, the airlines and officials at the Olympic Games.

“Any type of explosive, concealed explosive, can be extremely damaging,” he said. “It could be enough to bring down a plane . . . This is the type of threat that we’re very concerned about.”

Security in Sochi has been tightened for months, with an eye on Islamic militants in the region. Last month, Russian authorities announced that no liquids would be allowed on planes to Sochi, ABC News reported.

The Games begin Friday.

Sochi is 300 miles from the north Caucasus region, where Islamic militancy is well known.

ABC News reported that Doku Umarov, known as “Russia’s Osama bin Laden,” reportedly told followers last summer that they should do what they could to disrupt the Games, which he called a “satanic dance” on the bones of their ancestors, ABC News reported.

On Tuesday, counter-terrorism official Matthew Olsen spoke before Congress on whether those Muslim fundamentalists could attack selected targets, CNN reported.

“There are a number of specific threats of varying degrees of credibility that we’re tracking,” he said. “And we’re working very closely with the Russians and with other partners to monitor any threats we see and to disrupt those.”

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Cathy BurkeMuslim

US Ready to Assist Russia in Olympic Security.


Image: US Ready to Assist Russia in Olympic SecurityFisht Olympic Stadium is seen in the Olympic Park at the Adler district of Sochi on Jan. 20.

The U.S. military said on Monday that air and naval assets, including two ships in the Black Sea, would be made available if needed during the Sochi Winter Olympics in support of Russia, which faces militant threats to disrupt the Games.

The Pentagon said U.S. military commanders were “conducting prudent planning and preparations” should American support be required during the Winter Olympics.

“The United States has offered its full support to the Russian government as it conducts security preparations for the Winter Olympics,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

“Air and naval assets, to include two Navy ships in the Black Sea, will be available if requested for all manner of contingencies in support of – and in consultation with – the Russian government.”

The Pentagon statement came the same day that two men said by Islamist militants to have carried out suicide attacks in south Russia appeared in a video donning explosive belts and warning Russian President Vladimir Putin to expect a “present” at the Sochi Winter Olympics from fighters following after them.

Reuters reported on Sunday that U.S. military and intelligence officials have been studying contingency plans for evacuating Americans from the games in case of a crisis.

But U.S. officials have concluded there would be major obstacles to mounting a large-scale effort by the military or other U.S. government resources to evacuate Americans from Sochi, said a source familiar with Obama administration debates.

The most formidable roadblock U.S. officials have discussed regarding contingency plans for Sochi is that Russian authorities have historically been reluctant to allow foreign military forces, especially those of the United States, on Russian territory.

The State Department has warned Americans planning to attend the games to be vigilant about their security because of potential terrorist threats.

Owing to Sochi’s location and the formidable security measures Russian authorities have put in place at the site, most U.S. intelligence experts say any attacks during the Olympics are most likely to occur at places other than Sochi.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

LIGNET: New Malware Suggests Kremlin Support for Cyber Thieves.


Image: LIGNET: New Malware Suggests Kremlin Support for Cyber Thieves

Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen on a computer screen in an Internet cafe in Moscow during a special interactive webcast in 2006. Evidence of Putin’s support of cyber criminals who steal millions from US bank accounts is growing, but will be hard to prove. (DENIS SINYAKOV/AFP/Getty Images)

A new professional-grade piece of banking malware dubbed “KINS” recently appeared on the Russian black market, providing further evidence that the Russian government is not just ignoring the activities of cyber thieves, but is quietly encouraging them. Russian’s refusal to cooperate in the July 25 indictments of five Russians and a Ukrainian for hacking and theft of millions of dollars from American bank accounts using KINS has added to the growing suspicions.

Click here to read the full analysis from top intelligence experts at LIGNET.com.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By LIGNET Wires

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