President Obama stepped up the diplomatic pressure on Russia by signing a new executive order titled “Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine” (the “Second Executive Order”).  The Second Executive Order follows on the heels of a referendum in the autonomous region of Crimea on March 17, 2014, in which over 90% of the voting population of Crimea casted ballots in favor of seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia.  Many in the international diplomatic community, including the United States, condemned the referendum as illegitimate.  Further, the Second Executive Order expressly states:

[T]he actions and policies of the Government of the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine -- including the recent deployment of Russian Federation military forces in the Crimea region of Ukraine -- undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets, and thereby constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and  foreign policy of the United States.

The Second Executive Order extends the scope of the first executive order regarding the crisis in the Ukraine, E.O. 13660, issued on March 10, 2014 and reported on here.  The Second Executive Order expands upon E.O. 13660 by providing the ability to target officials of the Government of the Russian Federation, any individuals or entities that operate in the arms or related material sector in the Russian Federation, and any individual or entity that is owned or controlled by, or provides material or other support to, any senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation.

As of March 18, 2014, 11 individuals have been included on the Specially Designated Nationals (“SDN”) list maintained by the United States Office of Foreign Asset Control, four of whom are Ukrainians involved in violating Ukrainian sovereignty, including the former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, and the remaining seven of whom are high-level officials of the Government of the Russian Federation.  As SDNs, the property in the United States of these 11 individuals has been blocked (i.e., may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in) and they are not allowed to enter into the United States pursuant to E.O. 13660 and the Second Executive Order.