The U.S. targeted high-profile Russians who it said included President Vladimir Putin’s personal banker with sanctions Thursday, and warned Moscow it would go after key sectors of the economy if it escalates the crisis in Ukraine.
President Obama signed a new executive order giving the U.S. the power to sanction Russian companies in the financial services, energy, metals and mining, defense and engineering industries.
“If there is escalation, these key sectors will be in play for sanctions,” a senior U.S. administration official said.
Moscow retaliated by barring nine U.S. lawmakers, including Senator John McCain and House Speaker John Boehner, from entering Russia.
The new U.S. order was prompted by concerns in Washington that Russia is trying to exert pressure on Ukraine by military, political and economic means, the official said.
“Nobody should believe this is the end of what we’re prepared to do,” said the official.
For now, the West’s response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea is focused on increasing the pain by freezing assets and restricting the travel of a growing list of individuals.
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