Russia sanctions 9 US officials in response to US sanctions on Russian officials
Russia says it has imposed entry bans on nine U.S. lawmakers and officials in retaliation to Washington’s sanctions over Crimea.
Russia has imposed sanctions on nine U.S. officials including John Boehner, Harry Reid and John McCain, in response to U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday released the list, which includes John Boehner, R-Ohio, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Robert Menendez, D-N.J., the head of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, and Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., as well as other senators and administration officials, Dow Jones reported.
The move came minutes after President Barack Obama on Thursday signed an order to impose sanctions on more segments of Russia’s economy in response to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.
“Diplomacy between the U.S. and Russia continues. We’ve emphasized that Russia still has a different path available,” Obama said. “We want the Ukrainian people to determine their own destiny and to have good relations with the United States, Russia, Europe, with anyone they choose.”
Obama said the new sanctions will target Bank Rossiya, which provides material support to Russian leadership, as well as 20 individuals linked to the country’s annexation of Crimea.
The U.S. has declared Russia’s incursion into Crimea a violation of international law and does not recognize its annexation of the peninsula.
(Read more: Ukraine: What next for battered economy?)
In a telephone call on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that “the decision on the reunification of Crimea with Russia, which reflects the will of an absolute majority of (Crimea’s) residents, is not subject to review and should be respected.”
Meanwhile, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė praised the U.S.’s decision to sanction Russia, saying Obama had set an example.
“I think that already the United States has been very decisive, very open and doing what it can in the region as our NATO ally, as our bilateral friend and strategic partner. … It is the perfect example for Europeans to follow,” she told CNBC.
Earlier, Obama ruled out U.S. military involvement, saying the U.S. will push diplomatic efforts to bring pressure on Russia to loosen its grip on Crimea.
“There is a better path, but I think even the Ukrainians would acknowledge that for us to engage Russia militarily would not be appropriate and would not be good for Ukraine either,” Obama said Wednesday.
(Read more: US warns Moscow is on ‘dark path’ to isolation)
The EU has already imposed sanctions on Russian officials.
Kerry told reporters Thursday he hopes to meet Russia’s top diplomat next week in Europe to discuss the Ukraine crisis.
—By CNBC with wires.