U.S., Russia Trade Volleys on Sanctions

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Russian Response Includes Sanctions on U.S. Lawmakers, Officials.

President Barack Obama ordered a second round of sanctions Thursday on 20 Russians and a St. Petersburg bank in a fresh rebuke to President Vladimir Putin for his decision to annex Crimea.

Russia quickly responded with its own list of sanctions against six U.S. lawmakers and three White House officials.

But the more aggressive steps by the Obama administration—against the high-profile Bank Rossiya and some of Mr. Putin’s wealthiest and most influential supporters—marked an escalation of the U.S. financial assault against Russia. (Follow the latest developments on the crisis in Ukraine.)

It also was a notable reversal for a White House that until last month saw Mr. Putin and his government as a vital international partner, and dramatically increased the likelihood of that the retaliation could spiral.

Moscow has vowed an “asymmetrical” response that could encompass global issues important to the U.S., such as the Iran nuclear talks. U.S. officials said earlier that they were prepared for a Russian move to constrict supply routes used by the U.S. that pass near and through Russian territory.

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