March 6th, 2014
12:10 PM ET
8 years 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.

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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. salty dog

    Obama doctrine explained, here's gop doctrine explained. Make up lies, invade countries, kill thousands of young Americans, make insane profits, then do it all over asap. Wow, just wow.

    March 6, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. The REAL Truth...

    @Obama Doctrine Explained – Blabber endlessly and carry a small twig, then go golfing.
    Describes his nincompoop predecessor to a "T" – except he couldn't play golf, so had to settle for 42 taxpayer funded trips to his "ranch" during his last 2 yrs in office.

    March 6, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. salty dog

    Then, abandon the wounded vets, leave the country you invaded worse than when you got there, and let them clean up the mess. Then look for an opportunity to do it again.

    March 6, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. Tampa Tim

    Russian markets are tumbling and Russian credit rating is dropping. Putin's stupidity may lose his European natural gas markets. At any rate, the republican hero really stepped in it this time.

    March 6, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. Pander Bear

    I knew right away that the right wingnuts, after clamoring that Obama is weak and not doing enough, would immediately turn around and accuse him of being a dictator for now doing too much. No one believes your tea party garbage anymore.

    March 6, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. tom l

    ""Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Hillary Clinton say is was time to tone down the rhetoric while moments earlier saying Putin was Hitler?"

    Fine, I'll correct you; No, she did not. If you bothered to read/hear what she was actually saying and understood the point she was trying to make, she correctly pointed out that Putin is using a similar justification for invading Ukraine as Hitler used for invading nearby countries in Europe, and she was pointing it out to explain why some people are acting so alarmed by Putin's behavior and why it's sending up giant red flags...not because she was "saying Putin was Hitler".

    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. If you use Hitler to reference what someone is doing then you are absolutely comparing that person to Hitler. It is beyond irresponsible. As a Jew, it is also beyond offensive. Sorry, but just because there is some minute similarity, as this is one country with deep ties to the invading country, the comparison is willfully ignorant of more important facts than that. It is disgusting, in my opinion, to ever reference anyone to Hitler. He f'ing murdered 10 million people. Period. It's not even close and to use his name turns up the volume no matter how you spin it. It certainly agitates and that, to me, is the wrong approach. For you to ignore that is not surprising as to WHO the words came from....

    March 6, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    If you wingnuts would turn off Fox, you would see Putin really put Russia in economic trouble. Credit rating and markets down, and Europe is rethinking buying fuel from Putey.

    March 6, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. Giuseppe

    Wow, an executive order you say? Where is the footage of Putin cowering?

    March 6, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. tom l


    This was Sniffit yesterday on the story about the house passing a resolution with regards to Ukraine:

    "The measure would not carry the force of law, but would instead express House sentiment on Russia's military intervention in Ukraine's Crimea region and Royce expects support to be bipartisan."

    The measure would not carry the force of law, but would instead express House GOP/Teatroll sentiment that they need to use their House majority to do whatever they can to showboat in a manner designed to provide them with talking points with which to criticize Obama.


    It was a Bipartisan bill....

    March 6, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. Tampa Tim

    Putin was scared to death of little Bush, that is why he only invaded Georgia.

    March 6, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. smith

    @Salty Dog- We have gained no creditability in the world. As far as Iraq Obama simply followed Bush`s timetable for withdraw. Afghanistan has gotten worse since Obama became potus and we are still there. More people on foodstamps and dependent on govt. assistance in our nations history. Raised taxes on the working class and has raised health insurance premiums. Yeah, wonderful job...smh.

    March 6, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. Bill from GA

    Obama's sanctions, with Boehner's approval, are likely to make matters worse.

    Boehner said Putin is “counting on the United States to sit back and watch him do and take whatever he wants.”
    (from The Hill)

    If Putin wanted to take Crimea, there would be tanks and aircraft attacking Crimea's military. Putin is actually (probably) allowing a democratically derived decision about the future of Crimea. If Russian troops don't leave after the election, then we have reason to be alarmed.

    Some unnamed official (again, from The Hill) said: “The government in Kiev has to be a part of any decisions that are made about the future of Crimea”. The duly elected government in Kiev was overthrown, likely with aid from our country. We recognize the rebels because they lean toward our views. Aren't the wishes of the people of Crimea just as valid, even if they don't want to align with us?

    If we are to be the world's only SuperPower, we have a responsibility to act fairly, not just in our own short-term interest.

    March 6, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. just asking

    why all the uproar? this is the flexibility that obama promised putin back before the election. obama promised not to do anything and putin said thank you for carte blanche. the rest of eastern europe had better join nato fast before obama sells them out too.

    March 6, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. Bill from GA

    Its amazing how so many commenters are trying to make this a dem vs repub issue.

    Obama did what the repubs wanted, with Boneheads support. (McConnell is too busy playing with guns at CPAC to weigh in.) Granted, now that Obama did it, the repubs may oppose it, with half saying it was too little and will do no good, half saying it went too far and will hurt our allies.

    Never Can Tell.

    March 6, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Tampa Tim

    Russian markets are tumbling and Russian credit rating is dropping. Putin's stupidity may lose his European natural gas markets. At any rate, the republican hero really stepped in it this time.
    That's why they want the Keystone XL so badly. They want to compete with Russia in Europe. That's why they're building ports in the Gulf to handle the next generation of supertankers to carry it across the Atlantic.

    March 6, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. Bill from GA

    tom l

    Your comment to Sniffit was 100% RIGHT.

    I wanted to say mostly the same thing (OK, I'm a one-time Southern Baptist, not Jewish) but when I read Sniff's comment it was kinda late for me to jump in, not being a party to the argument.

    Again, if one uses a Hitler comparison, it is for one reason only. Hillary backed off her comment, but not Sniffit.

    March 6, 2014 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. tom l

    you are 100% incorrect about the US favorability since Obama took office. Do a little research.

    March 6, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. chuck wagon

    It appears to me the bigger problem is what may actually occurring is l
    Lpotus or Russia could be invading that country depending on the point of view. The EO could be applied to any individual or nation probably if it happens once. It could happen again. Step back and take a broad big picture look at every thing.

    March 6, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. 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.

    March 6, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. salty dog

    Smith, so far you've explained the success of the bush policies, and as your other point, 95% of wealth since 08 went to top 1%, and the gop answer is to give them more incentives, aka tax breaks, really? You think your shaking your head? The gop is basically saying we haven't made things lucrative enough for the "job creators" yet..... Sigh.

    March 6, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. 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.

    March 6, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. salty dog

    Because we aren't willing to go to war everytime there is conflict we've lost credibility, may I suggest that when our foes like us less that would be a positive sign? George bush has warrants in other countries, is that favorable to you, you think what you want, the world hates bush, with very good reason I think.

    March 6, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. Fair is Fair

    @ tom l

    I'll give him credit – he usually backs his stuff up pretty well. That is, until his haste to bash anything Republican and all things conservative gets the better of him. It's those times where it's just too delicious not to swing back. Call it a weakness of mine... sigh...

    March 6, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. Dean

    'Community Organizer' FAIL!

    March 6, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. 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.

    March 6, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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