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A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin defended his actions against the Ukraine, President Obama signed an executive order giving his administration powers to freeze U.S.-based financial assets and property of Russian officials responsible for the country’s military intervention in Ukraine.

Press secretary Jay Carney called the executive order “a flexible tool that will allow us to sanction those who are most directly involved in destabilizing Ukraine, including the military intervention in Crimea, and does not preclude further steps should the situation deteriorate.”

The State Department has also expanded its effort to deny visas to those responsible for or complicit in Russia’s actions in the Crimea region. Officials did not, however, name specific individuals who will be targeted or how many would be sanctioned.

According to the Washington Post:

They said the executive order will allow Treasury Department officials to freeze the assets of those who undermine democracy, peace and territorial integrity in Ukraine, those who misappropriate state assets and those who seize power without authorization from the interim government in Kiev.

A spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner’s office said: “We welcome this first step, but remain committed to working with the administration to give President Obama as many tools as needed to put President Putin in check as well as prevent Russia from infringing on the sovereignty of any of its other neighbors.”

The move comes after the White House proposed a $1 billion aid package for Ukraine’s interim government to Congress. The House will vote on that proposal Thursday.

We’ll keep you updated with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

SOURCE: Washington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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