President Vladimir Putin signed bills Friday that will annex Crimea into Russia pending the approval of the upper house of parliament. The annexation comes just after the European Union announced a range of sanctions against Russian leaders.
Some of the sanctions included banks that will no longer be handling transaction for account holders. In return, Russia has banned nine U.S. officials from entering the country. Those include Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and three top Obama aides.
“We will react every time, and we react based on mutuality. We have responded to the first sanctions, and now we will respond to [further sanctions],” said Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman. “They will not go unnoticed.”
Stronger measures could be placed against Russia, President Barack Obama said this week. Those restrictions could affect Russia’s energy, mining, defense and financial services.
“Russia must know that further escalation will only isolate it further from the international community,” Obama said in a brief statement on the White House South Lawn.
Also Friday, the prime minister of the Ukraine signed a political agreement with the European Union.
“We want to be a part of the big European family, and this is the first tremendous step in order to achieve for Ukraine its ultimate goal, as a full-fledged member,” said interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.