Russia vows to retaliate, says response will be painful
The Ukraine crisis saw tensions escalate dramatically on Monday as Washington announced a slew of additional sanctions on the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin, including the Deputy Prime Minister, a senior staffer of Mr. Putin’s executive office, the director of a top Russian security agency, the chairman of a State Duma Committee, and the head of the state oil company Rosneft.
Speaking in the Philippines during a whistle-stop tour of East Asian nations, President Barack Obama said that his goal was, “not to go after Mr. Putin, personally, [but to] change his calculus with respect to how the current actions that he is engaging in Ukraine could have an adverse impact on the Russian economy over the long haul.”
Even as Mr. Obama urged Mr. Putin to “actually walk the walk and not just talk the talk when it comes to diplomatically resolving the crisis in Ukraine,” the White House said the latest round of sanctions would, in addition to imposing an asset freeze on the seven individuals close to Mr. Putin, target 17 companies in his inner circle with asset freezes, visa bans and export restrictions for high-technology items.
The White House Press Secretary said the U.S. and its allies were unified in its position that “Russia must cease its illegal intervention and provocative actions in Ukraine,” and Washington remained prepared to impose still greater costs on Moscow if the Russian leadership “continues these provocations instead of de-escalating the situation, consistent with its Geneva commitments.”
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said: “We will, of course, respond … We are certain that this response will have a painful effect on Washington. We are disgusted with the statement issued by the White House Press Secretary.” Every word used in it, he added, “confirms that the U.S. has completely lost touch with reality …”