Type to search

U.S. Officials Vow To ‘Impose Costs’ On Russia Over Ukraine

McClatchy Tribune News Service Politics World

U.S. Officials Vow To ‘Impose Costs’ On Russia Over Ukraine


By Kathleen Hennessey and David Lauter, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Newly levied visa restrictions and an executive order allowing financial sanctions against people or groups “threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine” will allow the U.S. to “impose costs” on Russia for its actions in Crimea, senior administration officials said Thursday.

U.S. officials also rejected the idea of a referendum on whether Crimea should remain part of Ukraine, which Russian-backed officials announced Thursday. Any such decisions have to be made “with the government in Kiev,” the Ukrainian capital, said a senior administration official, one of several who briefed reporters on condition that they not be identified by name.

“You can’t have a situation where the legitimate government of the country is excluded from decision-making about the future of the country,” the official said.

The White House announced Thursday that the U.S. will ban unidentified Russian officials and others involved in “threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” from receiving U.S. visas. Senior officials said existing visas had been canceled for some people but declined to say who or how many.

The State Department will notify individuals of the cancellations “as the occasion arises,” a senior official said.

Under the new executive order on financial sanctions, which President Barack Obama signed Thursday, the Treasury Department will now begin deciding which individuals or groups might be subjected to financial penalties.

The order allows sanctions against people involved in “undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine; threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine; (or) contributing to the misappropriation of state assets of Ukraine” — categories that could reach officials of the former Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych as well as Russian officials.

U.S. officials described the visa ban and the financial sanctions as tools, the use of which could be ratcheted up or down depending on Russian actions.

“There is an opportunity for Russia to de-escalate” the crisis by pulling back its troops in Crimea, a senior official said. “We can calibrate our sanctions and our actions based on what the Russians do,” the official added, but noted “there should be costs and consequences for Russia for what they have already done.”

Crimea, a peninsula in southern Ukraine with a heavy majority of Russian speakers and a large Russian naval base on the Black Sea, has been the focus of the recent conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The moves add to existing visa restrictions on people involved in human rights abuses in Ukraine and mark a further escalation of U.S. pressure on Russia. U.S. officials repeatedly have said they intend to ramp up pressure on people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who the U.S. accuses of having broken international law by sending troops into Crimea.

The White House statement repeated the U.S. call on Russia “to take the opportunity before it to resolve this crisis through direct and immediate dialogue” with the government in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, along with “the immediate pull-back of Russia’s military forces to their bases, the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and support for the urgent deployment of international observers and human rights monitors who can assure that the rights of all Ukrainians are protected, including ethnic Russians.”

AFP Photo/Saul Loeb


1 Comment

  1. Dominick Vila March 7, 2014

    The sad truth is that the USA has no leverage or willingness to confront Russia on this or any other issue. The Crimean Peninsula was ceded to the Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev in the Soviet era (1950s) for reasons that only the Kremlin knows. The fact that Russia has military bases in the Crimea, that most of the population in that Peninsula are ethnic Russians, and Russia Orthodox, and that most prefer to be allied to Russia rather than the impoverished Ukraine, makes this a non-issue and a potential disaster for those who are trying to prevent what cannot be prevented.
    The USA is not going to risk a nuclear war with Russia over Ukraine, and everybody knows that. The American public would not support war against another super power for an issue that does not concern us, and Putin is well aware of the anti-war sentiment that now prevails in the USA after our disastrous crusades in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Our involvement should be limited to condemnation and awareness, rather than empty threats or promises we cannot fulfill. It is also important to remember that many Western European countries depend on Russian natural gas to stay warm in winter…


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.