clear
Wednesday July 29th, 2015 6:04PM

Obama orders new round of sanctions on Russia

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Seeking to intensify pressure on Russia, President Barack Obama on Thursday expanded U.S. economic sanctions against Moscow over its actions in Ukraine, targeting President Vladimir Putin's chief of staff and 19 other individuals as well as a Russian bank that provides them support.

Obama, warning of more costs to come for the Kremlin if the situation worsens, said he also had signed an executive order that would allow the U.S. to penalize key sectors of the Russian economy, including its huge energy business. Officials said Obama could act on that authority if Russian forces press into other areas of Ukraine, an escalation of the crisis in Crimea.

The president said the latest penalties were the result of "choices the Russian government has made, choices that have been rejected by the international community."

"Russia must know that further escalation will only isolate it further from the international community," Obama said, speaking from the South Lawn of the White House.

European Union leaders, too, said they would expand the number of people targeted with various sanctions and indicated they would cancel an EU-Russia summit. Chancellor Angela Merkel told the German parliament that if the crisis deepens in Crimea and Ukraine, the EU is prepared to move to economic sanctions on a higher level.

Russia retaliated quickly by imposing entry bans on American lawmakers and senior White House officials. Among them were Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Obama's senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer and his deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, were also targets of the Russian entry bans.

Boehner's office said the speaker was "proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against Putin's aggression."

The new American sanctions hit close advisers to Putin, including Sergei Ivanov, the Russian president's chief of staff and a longtime associate. Also targeted were Arkady Rotenberg and Gennady Timchenko, both lifelong Putin friends whose companies have amassed billions of dollars in government contracts.

Also sanctioned: Bank Rossiya, a private bank that is owned by Yuri Kovalchuk, who is considered to be Putin's banker.

The U.S. sanctions followed a first round of U.S. economic penalties ordered earlier in the week on 11 people the U.S. said were involved in the dispute in Ukraine. Russia moved its military into Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula three weeks ago and has since formally annexed the strategically important region into its borders.

The U.S. has declared Russia's incursion into Crimea a violation of international law and does not recognize its annexation of the peninsula.

Still, U.S. officials privately acknowledge that Russia is unlikely to give up Crimea. Instead, their top priority is keeping Russia from moving into other areas of Ukraine with pro-Russian populations.

"The world is watching with grave concern as Russia has positioned its military in a way that could lead to further incursions into southern and eastern Ukraine," Obama said.

Senior administration officials said the individuals targeted by Thursday's sanctions will have assets frozen in the United States, will be barred from doing any business in the U.S. and will be unable to make transactions in American dollars. The officials said some of those sanctioned are close associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin has not been personally targeted by the first two rounds of U.S. sanctions. American sanctions on heads of state are rare, largely reserved for instances where the U.S. is seeking a change in government leadership.

The dispute with Russia is expected to dominate Obama's trip to Europe next week. He'll chair a hastily arranged meeting of the Group of Seven, pointedly leaving out Russia, which often joins the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan to comprise the Group of Eight.

Officials said the G-7 leaders will discuss what kind of financial assistance they can provide to the fledgling Ukrainian government. The G-7 nations have also suspended preparations for a G-8 summit that Russia is scheduled to host this summer in Sochi, site of the recently completed Winter Olympics.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 6 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 6 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 6 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 6 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 6 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 6 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 6 months ago )
Local/State News
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 6 months ago )
Conviction of Putin foe sets off protest in Moscow
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
6:03PM ( 6 months ago )
More Georgians signing up for health insurance
A federal report says more Georgians have selected health insurance plans through a federally facilitated marketplace.
4:16PM ( 6 months ago )
Politics
House votes to provide money for highways, transit
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to shore up federal highway aid and veterans' health care before heading out of town for its August recess, leaving unresolved an array of...
5:51PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Stocks end higher after Fed keeps interest rates unchanged
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday after Federal Reserve policymakers voted to keep interest rates unchanged and gave no indication that a rate rise was imminent. A modest rebound in Chines...
5:10PM ( 53 minutes ago )
GOP presses Planned Parenthood aid ban, faces long odds
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans pressed their fight Wednesday to bar federal aid to Planned Parenthood, but likely opposition from at least one GOP senator highlighted the long odds they face to...
4:26PM ( 1 hour ago )
Los Angeles leaders outlaw high-capacity gun magazines
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Leaders in Los Angeles unanimously voted to ban the sale of high-capacity gun magazines, putting the city in the middle of the debate over national gun control following mass shooti...
2:44PM ( 3 hours ago )
Health care spending to accelerate, US report says
WASHINGTON (AP) — It's lasted six years. But now welcome relief from rising U.S. health care costs seems to be winding down.
8:29AM ( 9 hours ago )