Russia Implements Ban On US Lawmakers

Russian president Vladimir Putin decreed an entry ban on nine lawmakers and officials from the US.

The Russian Foreign Ministry banned the entry of House Speaker John A. Boehner (Republican, Ohio) and Sen. Robert Menendez (Democrat, New Jersey), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, among others.

The entry ban was carried out after US president Barack Obama implemented new economic sanctions against influential Russian individuals.

Obama Announces Sanctions On Russia

The US economic sanctions were for 19 government officials, members of Putin’s inner circle, and Bank Rossiya, the bank of many senior Russian Federation officials. The sanctions also included high-ranking government officials who publicly supported Putin to occupy Crimea using Russian forces.

These officials include: Yuri Kovalchuk, Putin’s personal banker and Bank Rossiya’s largest shareholder; Gennady Timchenko, a commodity trading mogul; and Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, brothers who made money on Putin-awarded contracts, like the state-controlled energy company Gazprom and the Sochi Winter Olympics.

The Crimea occupation and the global standoff is being recognized as one of the largest European political crisis ever since the Cold War.

An executive order was also signed to put deeper sanctions on parts of the Russian economy. According to the US president, it’s a move that is not their preferred outcome, and that it “will only isolate [Russia] further from the international community.” Obama added that such moves could be disruptive to the global economy.

The sanctions were implemented on top of existing sanctions the US and the European Union set up on Monday to stop Putin from formally annexing Crimea. However, Putin is not convinced.

Officials and neighboring countries are worried that the Russian president will still continue taking over Ukraine.

Trouble also seems to be brewing for the EU. Some European countries are campaigning for strong action, while the countries dependent on Russian energy and trade are hesitant because it might create an economic crisis at home.

According to the Prime Minister of Sweden, Fredrik Reinfeldt, the EU needs to unite to take further steps. “A strong Europe is the last thing that Putin wants,” he said, claiming the Russian president wants to split them up.

Despite that, the EU made plans to call off a scheduled EU-Russia summit this year.

Obama announced that he doesn’t want to start an actual war with Russia. So far, he is not entertaining the idea of using military equipment on Crimea. Instead, the US is sending financial aid to the new government and monitoring the economic pressure on Russia and Putin.

Senator On Russian Sanction