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By Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has signed an order that imposes sanctions on seven Russian government officials, including a deputy prime minister and one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest advisers.

In a statement, the White House said Russia’s incursion in Crimea undermined “democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”

The sanctions are intended to “impose costs on named individuals who wield influence in the Russian government and those responsible for the deteriorating situation in Ukraine,” the White House added. “We stand ready to use these authorities in a direct and targeted fashion as events warrant.”

The sanctions also targeted Ukraine’s ousted pro-Russia president, Viktor Yanukovych, his chief of staff and two Crimea-based separatist leaders.

Obama also signed an executive order that would allow the United States to impose further sanctions against Russian government officials and their associates and officials tied to the arms sector in Russia.

A senior administration official said the move “should serve as notice to Russia” that the U.S. will continue to “impose costs” on Russia if it doesn’t reverse course in Ukraine.

AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan

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