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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mockery greets Obama’s new sanctions against Russian officials after Crimea action -- By Ben Wolfgang, The Washington Times

President Obama on Monday slapped Russia with the kinds of economic sanctions not seen since the Cold War, but the administration's supposed hard line was met with mockery and a "collective shrug" in Moscow, Kiev and Washington.

One day after Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, the White House and its partners in the European Union responded by targeting high-ranking officials in Moscow along with pro-Russian figures responsible for the unrest in Ukraine.

The move adds even more tension to a dramatic standoff between Russia and the West, but early signs suggest the latest round of sanctions will have little impact on Russian President Vladimir Putin as he moves toward annexation of Crimea and, some fear, an all-out invasion of Ukraine.

Even some of those directly affected by the U.S. and European sanctions laughed them off and openly mocked Mr. Obama.

"Comrade Obama, what should those who have neither accounts nor property abroad do? Have you not thought about it?" Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in a message on Twitter. He is one of the seven Russian officials directly targeted by the president in an executive order signed Monday morning. "I think the decree of the President of the United States was written by some joker."

The sanctions specifically target officials close to Mr. Putin, though neither the Russian president nor Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was among those named.

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