Vladimir Putin responded to sanctions against some of his henchmen by placing sanctions on American politicians he views as threatening to Russia and Crimea. Included in the list of those who have been sanctioned are Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker John Boehner, and Senators John McCain and Mary Landrieu. Senator John McCain released a sarcastic response to the sanctions, saying he won’t be enjoying his summer vacation in Siberia, but that such measures will not stop him from standing for freedom in Ukraine.
The Russian government slapped sanctions on top U.S. officials on Thursday, moments after President Obama imposed penalties on 20 Russians inside and outside the government — as diplomatic efforts over Ukraine unraveled into a long-distance tit for tat.
The newest sanctions would bar nine American officials from entering Russia. The list includes House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Just as Vladimir Putin’s government shrugged off U.S. sanctions earlier in the week, so did the Americans targeted by Moscow.
“I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off, my Gazprom stock is lost, and my secret bank account in Moscow is frozen,” McCain quipped in a statement. “Nonetheless, I will never cease my efforts on behalf of the freedom, independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea.”
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said the speaker “is proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against Putin’s aggression.”
As each side imposes sanctions, left unclear is whether any of them will have an effect on the standoff over Russia’s widely challenged annexation of Crimea.
Putin said in televised remarks at Friday’s session of the presidential Security Council that he sees no immediate need for further Russian retaliation against the U.S. and said sardonically that he would open an account in the Russian bank targeted by the latest U.S. sanctions.
Obama, warning of more costs to come for the Kremlin if the situation worsens, said he also signed an executive order that would allow the U.S. to penalize key sectors of the Russian economy. Officials said Obama could act on that authority if Russian forces press into other areas of Ukraine, an escalation of the crisis in Crimea.