Obama Announces New Sanctions Against Russia

President Obama took a few moments out of his busy schedule of appearing on silly shows and filling out his March Madness bracket to announce new sanctions against Russia. Something tells me the Russians won’t really care. They’re probably already crafting their Twitter jokes.

Obama said Thursday that in addition to expanding the list of those being sanctioned, his administration also penalized an individual bank that conducts business with the officials in question.

Detailing the additional punishments, senior administration officials said 20 senior Russian government officials and “cronies” received travel bans and asset freezes.

Bank Rossiya, the 17th largest bank in Russia — and described by one senior administration official as “Putin’s personal banker” — also had its U.S. assets frozen.

Though Obama didn’t pull the trigger on sanctions against sectors of the Russian economy, the new executive authority gives him the ability to do so in the future.

Obama now has the capability to target Russia’s financial services, energy, metals and mining, defense and engineering sectors, the official explained.

“Nobody should believe this is the end of what we’re prepared to do under the executive order,” a senior administration official said. “It’s only the beginning.” (Read More)

Russia responded by announcing sanctions against Speaker John Boehner, Senators John McCain, Mary Landrieu, Robert Menendez and Harry Reid, among others. To the Russians this is just part of the big game.