March 6th, 2014
12:10 PM ET
9 months ago

Obama issues Executive Order on Ukraine sanctions

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


Filed under: President Obama • Ukraine
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Warren

    Now you watch the Reps will have a fit....

    March 6, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. Reggie53

    Obama really thinks he is "king" of the United States of America. He has to be stopped because he making our democratic government system a joke. I would like to know what his real agenda is for our country because it seems to be heading down a road of disaster.

    March 6, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Executive Orders??? Don't we have elected representatives any more? At this point, I'm more worried about the leftist dictator in Washington DC than I am about the commie country invader in Russia.

    March 6, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. Ol' Yeller

    Oh, I'm sorry Reggie53.... it must be King Lincoln. Because any President who issues executive orders must want to be King.... which would mean everyone of them.

    It isn't Obama making our system a joke.... it is misinformed and ignorant people who slept in Civics 101 who are the joke.

    March 6, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    In order to continue pitching a hissy over all of this so they can criticize Obama, the GOP/Teatrolls will now have to complain that the vote in Crimea's parliament was invalid. And yet, they want every small group of conservative communities in blue states to be able to vote to form their own state because "we keep losing elections to Dems in those states, so it's not fair to the conservative parts of the state."

    March 6, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. Silence DoGood

    @Reggie53
    Obama really thinks he is "king" of the United States of America.
    -------–
    No, he thinks he is issuing an executive order like almost all presidents have done. Remember Bush issuing an executive order to let the NSA eavesdrop without a warrant? Or FDR rounding up Japanese decent US citizens? George Washington did the first one. Your money would not be lost on a history book.

    March 6, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. Enough is Enough

    An executive order? How about going to Congress? And the progressives will cheer this action by their Dear Leader....just look at this man's history regarding foreign policy....he has failed at nearly everything that has tried to do related to it.....

    March 6, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. Fair is Fair

    Sniffit

    In order to continue pitching a hissy over all of this so they can criticize Obama, the GOP/Teatrolls will now have to complain that the vote in Crimea's parliament was invalid.
    ---------
    Well, right in the article, the administration also feels that it's invalid:

    "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."

    So the rest of your post is vanilla Sniffit soapboxing.

    March 6, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. Obama Approval Rating = 38% and falling fast

    And then when this proves to be a disaster as all of Obama's foreign policy has been, Obama will find some way to blame it on others. We have seen this show far too many times over the last 5 years....

    March 6, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Tampa Tim

    Do RWNJs now want to rescind the Bush executive orders? W was the boy who thought he was King.

    March 6, 2014 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. phil harris

    And how many executive orders did "W" sign? Get the facts straight. Obama has to use his pen cause the Republikans sure wont do anything. Theyre to busy having tea parties.

    March 6, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  12. Ali

    The President made the biggest mistake by going to The Tea baggers for support on Syria, I'm glad he's not making the same mistake twice. The only Obama acting "king" is Fox Channel's talking point. I have only watched Fox channel twice, November 2008 and November 2012.:). This proves that the Tea baggers are just unemployed/food stampers who are uneducated about the world and the America system of governance. But again it is the same party that brought you Nixon, Push II, Palin and Putin lovers. Never seen an American praising a dictator in Russia while calling the President of the United States of America a dictator. I guess they would rather be called Russian supporters than Obama supporters. I sleep well knowing President Obama will be in power until January 20,2017, then Madam Secretary Clinton will continue the work of better America.

    March 6, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    So the right wing nuts complain incessantly that President Obama is weak and feckless because he isn't doing anything. The moment he does anything the right wing nuts immediately return to complaining that President Obama is trying to be a king or dictator. Don't any of you folks ever wonder why you have zero credibility with your complaints?

    March 6, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. kurt

    For those of you freaking out about executive orders... a small fact.

    In his presidency, Obama has issued the fewest executive orders per year of any president since Garfield.

    It's amazing how regular parts of government become "unconstitutional and horrible" for some people when someone of another party is in office.

    March 6, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. Tampa Tim

    The REAL Truth...
    @king – the president numbers on fox poll is 38
    --–
    Gallup had it at 42% this am...
    - --
    Rasmussen was at 46% approval yesterday. Obama is still more popular than Fox News.

    March 6, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  16. salty dog

    Enough: list and explain all the failures, then tell us what George would do.

    March 6, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. Thomas

    Make this a world war against gangster dictator corruption , show the Russian people and the world the decadence of there rulers , from Dubai to London to Moscow to New York to Beijing .

    Follow the money !

    March 6, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. salty dog

    Awful strange how we have gained credibility worldwide, ended two wars, killed bin laden, and countless other high ranking terrorists, and the gop view this as failures, failures to take advantage of situations that enrich the war mongers, haliburton needs another contract, DMF .

    March 6, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. Obama Doctrine Explained

    Blabber endlessly and carry a small twig, then go golfing.

    March 6, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. salty dog

    Failure to advance the war mongering republicans agenda, sounds like a success to me. Their solutions to every foreign dispute is the same, send in troops, its all about the contracts, sickening to most. Thats why over 50% of registered voters would not vote for a bush, but they want to continue the games, they make so much money from our involvement.

    March 6, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  21. Val

    How would America react to:
    French Canadians have very same revolt and Russia would have sponsored such so-called revolution with five billion dollars as USA did in Ukraine. French Canadians would have forced entire Canada speak only French including all Americans that live there. And, Canadian French revolutionists would do just the same as Ukrainian Maidan does. What would Americans to then? Also, if USA would try to intervene into Canadian conflict Russia would threaten USA with sanctions and Russia would ask China, India, entire Muslim world to participate in sanctions against USA…….. This is exactly what is going on: disgusting!

    March 6, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. governmentexmachina

    Maybe the next time our diplomats try to organize a coup in another country how about they use a secure phone line. Goggle this: Nuland Transcript Ukraine

    Obama/Kerry doubled down on Nuland, had the Sec Def tell the world we are downsizing to a new low, while at the very same time the narcissistic psychopath Putin is moving troops into the Ukraine under cover of the Olympics. He was hustling from the moment his intel officers played the phone recording for him.

    Possession is 9/10ths of the law.

    Crimea parliament just voted to join Russia

    Game over.

    Total amateur hour on the world stage.

    March 6, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. Smitty

    This from the man who cant open a website!!! Im sure Putin is just shaking in his boots !!

    March 6, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Bill from GA

    It appears that we waited until the situation was about to be resolved, then stepped in.

    The people of Crimea probably have closer ties to Russia than to Western Europe. We should let them decide. That the USA and some of Western Europe recognize the rebel government of Ukraine, but not the decision of the people of Crimea, is ridiculous. Especially as there is no renewed bloodshed, we should leave the situation to be settled by those involved. How can the USA tell the Crimeans that they can't align with Russia?

    And in spite of the idiotic rantings of Hillary, the Russian occupation has done little but ensure stability to Crimea. The people welcome them.

    Until the elections in Crimea were announced, maybe sanctions of some sort were appropriate, but with the decision to be made democratically by the Crimeans, we have no basis to interfere. We shouldn't try to make choices for others, whether Bush is President or Obama .

    March 6, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  25. Tampa Tim

    salty – Well stated.

    March 6, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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