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Tuesday, July 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

The White House Orders Sanctions Against Russia

WASHINGTON (CN) - President Barack Obama has ordered sanctions against any individual the White House determines is linked to the Russian incursion into the Crimea region of Ukraine.

The executive order signed Thursday freezes assets and denies a U.S. Visa to anyone the White House deems is connected to "actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty or territorial integrity of Ukraine."

The order does not name who will be sanctioned, but includes anybody involved directly and indirectly, including anyone who has provided material, goods, services or technological support.

"This E.O. is a flexible tool that will allow us to sanction those who are most directly involved in destabilizing Ukraine, including the military intervention in Crimea, and does not preclude further steps should the situation deteriorate," stated a White House press release.

The new sanctions are on top of previous steps taken by the White House, including suspending bilateral discussions with Russia on trade and investment and suspending other bilateral meetings on a case-by-case basis.

The United States has put other activities with Russia on hold as well, including military exercises and port visits. Preparations for the G-8 Summit planned at Sochi in June are also on hold. NATO has beefed up its air patrols in the Baltic nations near Russia's border.

Obama said, Thursday, in a related speech:

"While we take these steps, I want to be clear that there is also a way to resolve this crisis that respects the interests of the Russian Federation, as well as the Ukrainian people. Let international monitors into all of Ukraine, including Crimea, to ensure the rights of all Ukrainians are being respected, including ethnic Russians. Begin consultations between the government of Russia and Ukraine, with the participation of the international community. Russia would maintain its basing rights in Crimea, provided that it abides by its agreements and respects Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. And the world should support the people of Ukraine as they move to elections in May."

The Crimea region has a volatile history with many conquerors in its past. It was part of the Mongol Empire in the 1300s and 1400s when Russia was being dominated by Tatars. It then shifted to the control of the Ottoman Empire before being annexed by Russia in 1783. Russia fought the French and British in the Crimean War (1853-1856) over who would have more influence in the region. In that war, allied troops besieged and took Sevastopol in 1855, home of Russia's Black Sea Fleet then and now. Germany conquered the region in both world wars. In 1954, the Soviet Union transferred control of the Crimea to Ukraine. This information is from the book "Russia and the Soviet Union, a Historical Introduction," 2nd edition by John M. Thompson.

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