Washington (CNN) - President Obama signed an Executive Order Thursday allowing the U.S. government to impose a host of sanctions on both individuals and entities deemed to be violating Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In a phone call with reporters, senior administration officials discussed the Executive Order and said it is intended to, "send a strong message that we intend to impose costs on Russia for this intervention." And will give the U.S. government "powerful and flexible tools" to target those who are believed to be violating international law.
One official says the State Department is imposing visa restrictions on certain individuals. "The authority allows us to add people to the visa ban list, and we will be looking at additional names." "We have this authority, are implementing it, and we will be restricting visas as well as pulling a number of visas where people already have them," he said.
Another official confirmed to CNN that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not on the list, and added that, “It is an unusual and extraordinary circumstance to sanction a head of state, and we would not begin our designations by doing so.”
The order also allows the Treasury Department to impose financial sanctions on individuals and entities. Anyone "misappropriating state assets of Ukraine. And... those purporting to assert governmental authority over any part of Ukraine without authorization from the Ukrainian government in Kiev." could face sanctions an administration official said.
Another senior administration official says the U.S. has also, "canceled military exercises and joint consultations with Russia... while providing additional assurance to our Eastern European allies about our commitment to their security."
"I know Secretary Kerry is meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov this morning to continue those discussions, but we're not going to put on hold our efforts to impose a cost for what has been a violation of international law already," added the official.
However the administration did emphasize that there's an "off-ramp" option for Russia, if Moscow would agree to certain terms.
"There continues to be a way to deescalate the situation, to allow international monitors into not just eastern Ukraine, but also Crimea to assure the protection of all Ukrainian citizens, including ethnic Russians," the official said.
When asked about a referendum announced by the regional parliament in the Crimea region that would allow voters there to decide whether to secede from Ukraine and potentially become part of Russia an administration official said, "It is the belief of the United States that decisions about Crimea or any part of Ukraine needs to be made with the government in
Kiev. This is a country with clearly defined international borders."
Assessing the situation on the ground in Ukraine, administration officials said, "We have not seen movements into eastern Ukraine. Were we to see that, we believe that would be a significant escalation of the situation, would further destabilize the situation and would invite a further response from the United States and the international community. So it's something that we're watching closely."
Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta and CNN White House Corespondent Michelle Kosinski contributed to this report