US President Barak Obama has announced further sanctions against Russian officials. And he has cleared the way for possible sanctions on the Russian economy.
Obama’s announcement came around two hours after Russia’s lower house of parliament approved a treaty to admit Crimea into the Russian Federation.
“Russia must know that further escalation will only isolate it further from the international community.
“The basic principals that govern relations between nations in Europe and around the world must be upheld in the 21st Century. That includes respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. The notion that nations do not simply re-draw borders or make decisions at the expense of their neighbours simply because they are lager or more powerful,” the president said. He was speaking on the White House south lawn before leaving on a trip to Florida.
Obama added, “Mr Putin needs to understand that the Ukrainians shouldn’t have to choose between the West and Russia. We want the Ukrainian people to determine their own destiny and to have good relations with the United States, with Russia, with Europe, with anyone they choose.”
The US also imposed sanctions on the Russian bank Bank Rossiya, which is used by many senior Russian government officials.
The president said that Russia’s threats to southern and eastern Ukraine posed a serious risk of escalation of the crisis in the region.