Tensions continue to mount between the Russian and Ukrainian governments in the wake of a controversial referendum that threatens to expand the borders of the Russian Federation. The results of that Crimean plebiscite show that an estimated 97 percent of voters favor the Russian annexation of Crimea, but the peninsula’s ethnic Tartars boycotted the referendum. Whatever the outcome, the consequences of the vote reach well beyond the Black Sea, and the international community has coordinated sanctions against Russia.

U.S. Sanctions Against Russian Officials

As part of those efforts, President Obama yesterday issued a second Executive Order that expands the scope of sanctions against Russia as first outlined in March 6, 2014, and targets Russian officials by name. The latest Executive Order freezes assets and imposes visa bans on the following persons:

Persons that the Secretary of the Treasury (in consultation with the Secretary of State) determines:

  • To be a Russian government official
  • To operate in Russia’s “arms or related materiel sector"
  • To be owned or controlled by senior Russian officials or a person whose assets have been blocked under the order
  • To have materially assisted or supported a senior Russian official or a person whose assets have been blocked under the order.

Certain Russian officials (see Annex A of this PDF):

  • Yelena Mizulina [State Duma Deputy, born December 9, 1954] 
  • Leonid Slutsky [State Duma Deputy, born January 4, 1968]
  • Andrei Klishas [Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Law, Judicial and Legal Affairs and the Development of Civil Society, born November 9, 1972]
  • Valentina Ivanovna Matviyenko [Federation Council Speaker, born April 7, 1949]
  • Dmitry Olegovich Rogozin [Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, born December 21, 1963]
  • Vladislav Yurievich Surkov [Presidential Aide to the President of the Russian Federation, born September 21, 1964]
  • Sergey Glazyev [Presidential Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, born January 1, 1961]

The Executive Orders also prohibit donations of food, clothing, and medicine made to any person whose assets are frozen under these orders. The sanctions became effective as of 12:01 a.m., March 17, 2014.

Relatedly, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated four individuals “involved in violating Ukrainian sovereignty.” Those four individuals are:

  • Sergey Valeryevich Aksyonov [Crimea-based separatist who claims to be Prime Minister of Crimea, born November 26, 1972]
  • Vladimir Andreyevich Konstantinov [Speaker of the Crimean Parliament, born November 19, 1956]
  • Viktor Medvedchuk [Leader of Ukrainian Choice, born August 7, 1954]
  • Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych [Former President of Ukraine, born July 9, 1950]

These individuals are being designated for their role in actions or policies that undermine democracy in Ukraine. In the meantime, the United States continues to seek a diplomatic solution.

EU Sanctions Against Russian & Crimean Officials

The EU, like the United States, continues to seek a diplomatic solution. Consistent with the EU Heads of State of Government statement of March 6, however, the Council of the European Union recently targeted 21 persons with a travel ban and a freeze on their assets within the EU. The measures came into force yesterday. They are aimed at underlining the EU’s resolve to protect the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine against those who would seek to undermine it. Four persons are common to both the U.S. and the EU lists, namely Andrei Klishas, Leonid Slutski, Sergey Valeryevich Aksyonov, and Vladimir Andreevich Konstantinov. The remaining 17 persons are:

  • Rustam Ilmirovich Temirgaliev [Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Crimea, born August 15, 1976]
  • Deniz Valentinovich Berezovskiy [Commander of the Ukrainian Navy, born July 15, 1974
  • Aleksei Mikhailovich Chaliy [“Mayor of Sevastopol”, born June 13, 1961]
  • Pyotr Anatoliyovych Zima [Head of the Crimean Security Service (SBU), date of birth not supplied]
  • Yuriy Zherebtsov [Counsellor of the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea, date of birth not supplied]
  • Sergey Pavlovych Tsekov [Vice Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea, born March 28, 1953]
  • Viktor Alekseevich Ozerov [Chairman of the Security and Defense Committee of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, born January 5, 1958]
  • Vladimir Michailovich Dzhabarov [First Deputy-Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, born September 29, 1952
  • Nikolai Ivanovich Ryzhkov [Member of the Committee for federal issues, regional politics and the North of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, born September 28, 1929]
  • Evgeni Viktorovich Bushmin [Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, born October 4, 1958]
  • Aleksandr Borisovich Totoonov [Member of the Committee on culture, science and information of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, born March 3, 1957]
  • Oleg Evgenevich Panteleev [First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Parliamentary Issues, born July 21, 1952]
  • Sergei Mikhailovich Mironov [Member of the Council of the State Duma; Leader of Fair Russia faction in the Duma of the Russian Federation, born February 14, 1953]
  • Sergei Vladimirovich Zheleznyak [Deputy Speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, born July 30, 1970]
  • Aleksandr Viktorovich Vitko [Commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Vice-Admiral, born September 13, 1961]
  • Anatoliy Alekseevich Sidorov [Commander, Russia’s Western Military District, units of which are deployed in Crimea, date of birth not supplied]
  • Aleksandr Galkin [Russia’s Southern Military District, forces of which are in Crimea]

At a press conference yesterday, asked whether the EU had deployed “softer” measures than the United States, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Baroness Ashton, replied that it was a question of what was appropriate for the EU. The High Representative was not prepared to be drawn on whether the EU would move to the third stage of its escalating measures, were Russia to annex Crimea. She expressed the hope that Russia would act in a manner conducive to de-escalating the crisis.

Yet there may be little hope of de-escalation for the time being. Even as we push these words to publication, we are receiving word that Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree recognizing Crimea “as a sovereign and independent state,” effective immediately. We can only speculate as to how the West may react, but we can expect a reaction