Responding to American sanctions and travel bans of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, the Russian government announced its own list Thursday, in an indication of how the Kremlin views who holds the power in Washington.
Heading up the list are three White House aides: senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, and deputy national security advisers Ben Rhodes and Caroline Atkinson.
Also targeted for sanctions are Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
“The Speaker is proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against Putin’s aggression,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.
(Also on POLITICO: Obama expands Russia sanctions)
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Washington’s most vocal Russia hawk and the leader of a Senate delegation to Ukraine last week, made the list, but Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who was the most prominent Democrat on the trip, did not.
“I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off, my Gazprom stock is lost, and my secret bank account in Moscow is frozen,” McCain said, in a sarcastic statement released by his office. “Nonetheless, I will never cease my efforts on behalf of the freedom, independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea.”
Senate Foreign Relations Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-La.) also drew Russia’s attention, as did Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats.
(Also on POLITICO: Obama rules out military excursion)
“While I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to go on vacation with my family in Siberia this summer, I am honored to be on this list,” Coats said in a statement. “Putin’s recent aggression is unacceptable, and America must join with our European allies to isolate and punish Russia. I will continue to lead efforts on Capitol Hill to bring Putin to his senses.”
“Being sanctioned by President Putin is a badge of honor. It will not stop me from using my power as chair of the Energy Committee to promote America as an energy superpower and help increase energy exports around the world,” Landrieu said. “And it most certainly will not stop me from advocating for orphans in Russia and around the world.”
Though the Russians have essentially laughed off the sanctions imposed by the White House, an administration official Thursday morning dismissed that as “bluster,” saying they’re feeling the pain. The administration added 20 Russians who are either in the government or with strong ties to the government to its targeted sanction list Thursday.
At this point, the impact of the sanctions isn’t at all clear —the Russians that the American sanctions targeted, according to administration officials, had holdings in international accounts that can be impeded or frozen. That does not seem to be the case for the nine Americans in Putin’s sights.
“If standing up for #democracy & sovereignty in #Ukraine means I’m #SanctionedByPutin, I’ll take it,” Menendez tweeted.
Article Views: 60 share what you think