|March 24, 2014|
Previously published on March 21, 2014
In response to the Russian annexation of Crimea, which had previously been part of the Ukraine, President Barack Obama authorized sanctions against a handful of individuals in Russia and involved in the Crimea separatist movement and then on Thursday further expanded those sanctions to include wealthy Russians with ties to the Putin government.
Russia retaliated by banning nine U.S. officials, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), from entering Russia.
In expanding the sanctions, President Obama left open the possibility of further escalating sanctions to include potential bans on Russian energy exports. Such a move would certainly have an impact on the Russian economy - Russia is the world's largest exporter of natural gas.
Natural gas producers here in the U.S. have been pressuring Congress to take steps to expedite the sale of American gas in the Ukraine and other countries in the region to undercut Russia's influence in the region.