President Barack Obama delivered a brief, five-minute statement on the crisis in Ukraine Monday morning, outlining the sanctions announced earlier by the White House.
His remarks came hours after he signed an executive order authorizing sanctions on seven high-level Russian individuals involved in the situation, all of whom U.S. officials called “cronies” of the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We are making it clear that there are consequences for their actions,” Obama said from the White House briefing room, adding it will “increase costs on Russia.”
Obama did not take questions after his prepared remarks.
The sanctions were a response to the Russian government’s role in the crisis, which escalated Sunday when Crimea voted overwhelmingly in a controversial referendum to split from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Though local officials said more than 95 per cent of Crimea voters chose to join Russia, the U.S. and European Union have long made clear they didn’t view the referendum as legal or legitimate.
The new executive order lists seven individuals designated for sanctions — Vladislav Surkov, Sergey Glazyev, Leonid Slutsky, Andrei Klishas, Valentina Matviyenko, Dmitry Rogozin, and Yelena Mizulina.
Noting he’ll travel to Europe next week, Obama warned Putin of escalating the crisis further, and urged him to reverse course toward a diplomatic solution.
“We’ll continue to make clear to Russia that further provocations will achieve nothing except to further isolate Russia,” Obama said.
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