U.S. to Sanction Those Responsible for Ukraine Unrest

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from The Wall Street Journal,

President Obama Signs Executive Order to Rein In the Undermining of Democracy in Country

President Barack Obama signed an executive order Thursday authorizing sanctions against those who are undermining democracy in the Ukraine, a step the administration said is intended to increase pressure on Russia to pull back from Crimea.

Mr. Obama’s chief spokesman, Jay Carney, said in a statement that the new steps are aimed at those “responsible for or complicit in threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Mr. Obama’s executive order sets the stage for sanctions but doesn’t immediately implement them. His executive order “authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine; threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine; contributing to the misappropriation of state assets of Ukraine; or purporting to assert governmental authority over any part of Ukraine without authorization” from the Ukrainian government in Kiev.

The order “is a flexible tool that will allow us to sanction those who are most directly involved in destabilizing Ukraine, including the military intervention in Crimea, and doesn’t preclude further steps should the situation deteriorate.”

Crimea has been under de facto military occupation since the weekend, when thousands of heavily armed men—wearing unmarked uniforms but widely believed to be Russian soldiers from the country’s Black Sea Fleet, which is based in the region—seized key locations on the peninsula and effectively cut it off from the rest of Ukraine.

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