Barack Obama announced a series of sanctions against officials in Russia who he claims have played a role in the continued unrest in the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine. The move came one day after a majority voters in the region supported a referendum to unite with Russia.
In a statement Monday, Obama said the U.S. would not recognize the referendum. He went on to blame a number of officials within the Russian government for the development.
“We are imposing sanctions on specific individuals for undermining the sovereignty, territorial integrity and government of Ukraine,” he asserted. “We are making it clear that there are consequences for their actions.”
The White House – along with numerous media outlets – is touting the sanctions as a direct response to Russian President Vladimir Putin. While Putin is not named directly in Obama’s reaction, a White House statement indicates the U.S. will “seek to hold accountable individuals who use their resources or influence to support or act on behalf of senior Russian government officials.”
One senior White House advisor, however, questioned Obama’s selection, suggesting the seven Russian officials facing sanctions are not Putin allies at all. The source, who requested anonymity in discussing the developing story, offered a background for each of the individuals targeted by the White House.
Sergey Glazyev reportedly mounted a presidential campaign against Putin in 2004 and has been excluded from the inner workings of the Russian government since. Another target of sanctions, Vladislav Surkov, reportedly resigned from the Putin regime last year following accusations that he would not enforce the Russian president’s policies.