The US and its western allies on Tuesday threatened Russia with more sanctions but they seemed clearly struggling to find a more effective way of dealing with it. Russia has shown complete disregard for the threats at every step, with officials recently sanctioned publicly mocking them — the sanctions — as something written by pranksters.
Russian president Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of Crimea just the day after the US announced sanctioned against seven of his close aides — the first after the end of the cold war. In response to the annexation, White House press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday said, “We condemn Russia’s moves to formally annex the Crimean region of Ukraine.” The US will not recognise the annexation. And it will respond with more sanctions. “You have seen some designations already, and there are more to come,” he added. The US froze assets of seven Russian officials and four Ukrainians on Monday. The European Union announced sanctions against 21 individuals including the above. That has clearly not deterred Putin, raising questions here if US and its allies were doing enough. Critics of the administration have called Obama’s response weak.
Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney argued in an oped in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday the Obama administration was slow to react to the Ukrainian crisis. The White House has dismissed any suggestion of weakness and defended is response as more muscular than George W Bush’s when Putin invaded Georgia in 2008.
The administration said more individuals — “those who do not hold any office int he government” — and entities could be brought under the sanctions.
Obama continued to work with allies calling Angela Merkel on Tuesday. And he has invited G-7 members countries — Japan, Germany, France, UK, Canada and Italy for a meeting on the sideline of the nuclear summit next week to discuss Ukraine.