The Kremlin has signed an order to recognize the independence of Crimea after its secession referendum on March 16 when the region’s ethnic Russian majority overwhelmingly voted to join Russia.
The move has been condemned by the West, with the EU and the US imposing a raft of sanctions on individuals and freezing military cooperation.
US sanctions target seven Russian government officials — presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, presidential advisor Sergey Glazyev, head of State Duma’s CIS committee Leonid Slutsky, head of the Federation Council’s Constitutional Legislation committee Andrey Klishas, speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko, vice-premier Dmitry Rogozin and head of State Duma’s committee for the affairs of family, women and children Yelena Mizulina.
The list also includes four Ukrainians, including the country’s former president Viktor Yanukovich, former chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk, and Crimea’s newly-elected leader Sergey Aksyonov and head of the republic’s legislature Vladimir Konstantinov.
The US is expected to freeze their assets and impose a visa ban.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, together with Secretary of State John Kerry, can impose asset freezes and travel restrictions on “any individual or entity that operates in the Russian arms industry, and any designated individual or entity that acts on behalf of, or that provides material or other support to, any senior Russian government official,” the White House said in a statement.
Many experts say it’s not just individual officials whose interested are at stake. All Russians will have a price to pay economically.
Earlier, Moody’s has warned Russia could lose investment appeal and its current credit rating due to the uncertainty over the Ukraine crisis. According to the rating agency, Russia’s GDP can suffer as a result, with many private investors withdrawing their funds from the economy. The risk is exacerbated by the fact that many Russian banks and companies operate in Ukraine.
Author: Mikhail Vesely