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. just saying

    Silence DoGood
    @just saying
    force the issue ukraine, blow up every single russian gas line running through the ukraine. let the rest of europe freeze if they don't care enough to help you. it will also starve the russians of money.
    ----
    All of a sudden I find myself feeling very thankful for President Obama's intelligent measured approach.
    -–

    you mean worthless obama rhetoric and meaningless obama gestures approach. the only reaction from russia and putin so far is uncontrollable laughter followed by threats to punish us if we do anything. maybe russia will withdraw if obama personally goes over their and gives putin a back massage along with that knee slap?

    March 6, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ tom I: "Sorry dude but I respectfully disagree. I am one who is tired of anyone using the Hitler reference for anything. It is dumb when they use to compare to Obama, it was wrong when they did it with Bush and it is wrong in this case, too."

    I agree, tom. Hitler comparisons need to stop. Your entire comment was well worth agreeing on.

    March 6, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair

    salty dog

    When the gop takes putins side, and praises him over Obama, you honestly don't see a problem with that, the rest of the world does, that's the weakness they see, if you can't unite when threatened by another country, you've got bigger problems than theirs.
    --------
    Well, salty... how would you characterize the left's opposition to Obama when he was going to take unilateral action in Syria? Disagreeing with our leadership is one of our dearest freedoms enjoyed in a free society.

    March 6, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  4. Tampa Tim

    tom l
    salty,
    you are 100% incorrect about the US favorability since Obama took office. Do a little research.
    -–
    The following is a comparison of Bush to Obama around the world: Italy Bush 53, 0bama 70; France. B 42, O 69; Poland B 68, 0 69; Britain B 53, O 60; Spain B 33, O 58; Czech B 45, O 54; Germany B 31, O 52, Russia B 46, O 52. There is more, but you get the idea.

    March 6, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  5. Alan Parker

    Excuse me, but the first instance of interference in Ukraine's sovereign rights was the conversation between Nuland and the US ambassador deciding on who the next PM should be (so much for the US being a champion of democracy). Are they going to be sanctioned – and by extension Obama and his dirty government. Are the Americans really unable to see thru this nonsense.

    March 6, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. Silence DoGood

    just saying
    Silence DoGood
    @just saying
    force the issue ukraine, blow up every single russian gas line running through the ukraine. let the rest of europe freeze if they don't care enough to help you. it will also starve the russians of money.
    --
    All of a sudden I find myself feeling very thankful for President Obama's intelligent measured approach.
    -–

    you mean worthless obama rhetoric and meaningless obama gestures approach. the only reaction from russia and putin so far is uncontrollable laughter followed by threats to punish us if we do anything. maybe russia will withdraw if obama personally goes over their and gives putin a back massage along with that knee slap?
    -----–
    Actually back on my planet, their own action has trashed their economy and world opinion. Obama is using wisdom in not interrupting the trouble they are causing themselves. Obama has used force when needed – examples are obvious. And your words rapidly assembled into pseudo-sentences really doesn't change that. I thank God we don't have a leader that will "blow up" stuff at random to solve a problem, like his predecessor.

    March 6, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. salty dog

    Disagreement due to difference in ideology is one thing, disagreeing to be oppositional is another fair. And to be quite honest, its becoming hard to distinguish.

    March 6, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. king

    i think it was Ben laden who said that we are not fighting America to defeat its military, we are fighting americas to destroy their finance, we are 17 trillion dollars in debt folks, i think Ben laden won. these repubs thinks force is everything like it was back 50 years ago. the new wars is financial destruction. Putin knows it that's why hes in retreat. this president always seems to come out on top, when the repubs put him in a hole and start throwing dirt on him to bury him. how can so called patriots worship the country's enemies in Putin and despise the one that took them out of such disaster with the financial collapse. go to your Putin we will stick with Obama.

    March 6, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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