Obama Piles New Sanctions on Russia for 'Provocation' in Ukraine


The crisis in Ukraine heated up with another hostage situation this weekend, the shooting of an elected official this morning, ongoing riots, and President Barack Obama's announcement of a new set of sanctions against Russian government officials and cronies for not fulfilling its promise to "de-escalate" the situation.

"So long as Russia continues down a path of provocation rather than trying to resolve this issue peacefully and de-escalate it, there are going to be consequences and those consequences will continue to grow," Obama said yesterday. He also wagged his finger at the Putin administration for idling while "thugs," pro-Russian separatists, took hostage a team of eight Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) observers.

The Hill reports:

The penalties will hit seven Russian government officials, including two members of Putin's "inner circle," according to White House press secretary Jay Carney. The Treasury Department will also freeze the assets of 17 companies linked to Putin….

The Department of Commerce will also impose new restrictions on 13 of the companies in a bid to prevent the export of U.S. manufacturing to them.

The European Union and G7 nations are imposing similar sanctions.

The Moscow Times notes that "so far, the sanctions imposed on Russia are not game-changers for foreign companies" doing business in the country, though Russia's economy is pretty awful anyway: "Downgrading Russia's credit rating on Friday to BBB-, one notch above junk status, Standard and Poor's said $51 billion of capital had fled the country in the first quarter, almost as much as the $57 billion average annual outflow over the last five years."

The U.S. and Russia are also flexing military muscle over the situation. Russia is in the midst of previously unplanned naval exercises in the Caspian Sea while contingents of American paratroopers exercise in NATO allies Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

In spite of all this posturing, Ukraine's turmoil continues. The mayor of Kharkiv, a separatist-occupied city near the Russian border, is in critical condition after being shot by an unknown gunman today. Pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian protesters are taking place in another contested city, Donetsk, today as well. There are few details yet, but Radio Free Europe reports at least 15 injured. Watch some of what happened below:

Read more Reason coverage of Ukraine here.

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  1. That ought to fix this whole mess.

    1. Stop! Or I will say stop again!

  2. I thought “thug” was the new racial slur…

  3. Anyone else participate in the useless – but HIGHLY entertaining – couple hours of #hashtagdiplomacy on the Tweeterz the other day? It alllll started with some retarded tweet from the State DEpt about Russia “respecting the hashtag” re: Ukraine.

    Yeah – TWEETS will keep the Rooskies out!

    The ensuing melee of mockery was the best 30 minutes I’ve spent on the intertubez since the last 15 mins of #Sharknado’s first airing.

    1. Ah – found orig Twat:

      “@StateDeptSpox: The world stands #UnitedWithUkraine. Let’s hope that #Kremlin and @mfarussia will live by the promise of hashtag.”

      So, that’s the best the US’ State Dept can come up with?

      My personal fave responses were, “What #hashtag, at this point, does it make?” and “Speak softly and carry a big #hashtag.”

      1. We are all Ukraine, Ukraine Strong… So glad life is turning into a series of meaningless slogans.

        1. At what point will we actually achieve critical stupid?

    2. They’ll be teaching kids about this in history class one day as one of the great moments in US foreign relations. It’ll be the Monroe Doctrine, Roosevelt’s gunboat diplomacy, and that time we totally trolled the Russians on Twitter.

      1. Next Obama can team kill Putin on some call of duty, and totally teabag his character, yeah that will show him. Later Obama could like totally mess up Putin’s Minecraft game yeah!!

        1. “Next Obama can team kill Putin on some call of duty”

          That’s just not going to happen. If it’s Team Putin vs Team Obama on “Call of Duty”, my money is on Team Putin.

          1. Maybe Putin and Obama should just have an old fashion cage match, whoever wins gets Ukraine,
            My money’s on black belt KGB Putin……

    3. #Slacktivism will change the world!

      First, the Russkies were supposed to change their evil ways because Dan Savage convinced a bunch of equally stupid people to boycott a brand that has no impact on the Russian economy.

      Now, FedGov wants the peons to think that they can Tweet Russia into submission.

      1. First, the Russkies were supposed to change their evil ways because Dan Savage convinced a bunch of equally stupid people to boycott a brand that has no impact on the Russian economy.

        Wait, did people actually think that the Russians would change their minds about anything over that? The sense I got was that even the people participating in the boycott didn’t see it as anything but an exercise in feeling self-important.

  4. “””””naval exercises in the Caspian Sea””””

    How is Naval maneuvers in the Caspian Sea a flexing its muscles against Ukraine or the US?

    The Caspian Sea except for a canal for small ships and barges is land locked

    1. “Russia claims bigger dick than US. US replies Nuh-uh! News at 11.”

    2. “The Caspian Sea except for a canal for small ships and barges is land locked”

      Well, it’s doesn’t seem to be really a lot different than the Black Sea when the only exit is NATO controlled in regards to being land locked.

      On a side note, when playing Axis & Allies back in the day, I’d occasionally get the idjut opponent who refused to admit obvious defeat. At that point, if I was playing the Allies, I’d start building 1 battleship per turn in the Caspian Sea. A smart opponent would realize at that point that I was just playing with them like a Cat playing with a Mouse.

      1. Whoever controls the Bosporus and Dardanelles can close it off, but the Black sea is a whole different thing.

  5. And if that doesn’t work, Obama will have no choice but to lay down the law and put them all on double secret sanctions.

    1. Now GO AWAY, or I shall taunt you a SECOND time…

  6. You know who else made toothless threats against Russia…

    1. Gary Khan of the Cubic Zirconium Horde?

      1. Ah yes Kublai Khan’s lessor know brother, Gary.

        1. (obligatory) KKKKKHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAANNNNNNN!!!!!!1!1!!!

    2. The 1980 U.S. Men’s Hockey Team?

    3. Snowden?

  7. This must really be driving Obama up a wall. Russia keeps forcing him to reveal that the Emperor has no clothes.

    1. Lucky for him Donald Sterling gave him something else to opine about over the weekend.

      1. Internet social media was the Devil’s greatest gift to the PC and protest industry. Now they can go from zero to outrage in a couple of hours.

        1. Actually it’s the greatest gift to politicians. The morons on TEAM OUTRAGE conveniently focus on idiotic bullshit instead of all the fucked up shit the government is doing. NSA spying? Who cares, a basketball team owner might be an asshole!

    2. I am assuming, at this point, that this is Putin’s principal motivation in the whole affair.

      1. Its clearly a Mitt Romney funded conspiracy to make him look less insane for his 1980s-era foreign policy as mentioned in the debates.

        1. I figured Sarah Palin has been working through her magic vagina to bring down Obama. Is that not what Andrew Sullivan’s column said?

          1. Speaking of, the other day I caught a few seconds of a commercial for the TV show Palin apparently now has. I couldn’t help laughing at how on-the-nose it was, something about basically “Stories of REAL AMERICANS driving trucks and shooting guns and barbecuing things!”

            I make no judgments about her intelligence in general, not knowing all that much about her, but in at least one capacity, baiting leftists to drive them into a foamy rage, she is a genius.

            1. For the record, I think she’s noticeably smarter than average.

            2. I think I’d like her. She seems to really enjoy pissing people off as a form of revenge. We’d have at least that much in common.

            3. Sarah Palin says things. Certain people scream about Palin, either in derogation or defense. Sarah Palin’s profile rises. LULZ, TV deals, and speaker fees, ensues.

              Who is the real idiot in this situation?

              1. Who is the real idiot in this situation?


            4. She seems not very smart or interesting to me, but I really don’t give a shit. It is really odd how much she drives certain people nuts, though. Most of the people who really hate her seem to know even less than I do about her, which is not much.

      2. Putin is merely a puppet now. The strings are being pulled by the evil one, Snowden.

        1. Darn straight!

          /Rep Peter King (IRA-NY)

  8. Obama foreign policy is the equivalent of Lindsay Lohan’s acting career right about now.

    We elected the prom king as president. Pitting him against Putin is like a Bichon Frise-Doberman pit fight.

  9. Am I the only one who has figured out who is the true master mind behind what Russia is doing, and why?

    1. Nope. Andrew Sullivan is working on his column right now about how Obama sketched all of this out during office hours at Chicago Law in 1999.

      1. And he’s going to leave one Edward Joseph Snowden out of the story?

        Look at this.

        Jospeh Snowden – Josepsh Stalin. Coincidence. I think not!

        And the true spelling is Snoden, not Snowden. You see, 666!!!

        And, if you combine Snowdens and Vladimir Putins names, and throw them into a random string sequence generator, do you know what names you can get!? Ok, neither do I, but it has to mean something!

        And, 4 blood moons!

        1. Don’t joke about the blood moon.

          1. I joked about Y2K. I joked about 2012. I joked about AGW.

            I am still here, posting on H&R.

        2. Snowden does play a prominent role in the novel “Catch 22”.

  10. If Obama wasn’t such a clueless dork, he would know that the only way to defeat Russia is to cut off their vodka supply.

    1. It’s too late. The Russians have evolved to the point that they can distill wheats inside of themselves and piss vodka.

      1. In Putin’s Russia, wodka distills you?!

  11. OT: I’m just going to suggest that UC Davis protesters stay far away from road flares.

  12. It is embarrassing to have such a pussified, pussy whipped beta male prom king for a president. I get an extraordinary amount of schadenfreude watching Putin running circles around the Oh Great Black One.

    1. I find it hard to believe that anyone who uses the term “beta male” is capable of embarrassment.

  13. Nice to see all the fauxbertarians here decided to let their inner neocons out today.

      1. We spoke approvingly of Sarah Palin and “favored” Putin over Obama or something.

      2. You’d think that the we’re avoiding military involvement in Ukraine would be a good thing, but no, apparently all the “Libertarians” here are sad Obama just isn’t manly enough to start World War III

        1. He has you guys there.

          Of all the things to criticize Obama for his failure to respond muscularly enough in some far flung affair is the oddest choice

          1. Really?

            Please tell me where I co-signed an American invasion of Russia and/or Ukraine.

          2. Most of the posts I am reading here are mocking Obama for his flailing about fecklessly.

            A coherent foreign policy, even a truculent one, would make the world safer; he’d be more predictable.

            And if the U.S. state department hadn’t been meddling in Ukrainian internal politics, and if Obama had announced that he were repudiating Bill Clinton’s promise to defend Ukraine with the U.S. nuclear arsenal if they gave theirs to Russia, I think most of us would be quite cool with that.

            1. I’d much rather have an administration responding with tweets and small individualized sanctions than the more recent trend of invasions and nation building

              1. Twitter campaigns and sanctions are ineffectual actions that are only useful as PR exercises. Considering that Obama’s feckless PR exercises have included him to violating the War Powers Act (and International Law) and bombing one country wracked by revolt, and nearly blundering into a war with Russia over Syria, I don’t view his ineffectual flailing with your indulgence, Bo. Obama is a dangerous warmonger. Bush at least had a strategic vision. Obama seems to be more concerned with people writing embarrassing shit about him in the Washington Post.

              2. The only reason (DRINK) they’re doing the former rather than the latter is you don’t invade and nation-build russia.

          3. failure to respond muscularly enough



            Not only can I laugh at Obama and his failure but I can laugh at your failure to defend him in his failure.

            Pro-tip Bo…when you have to put your head that far up your ass to make a defense for Obama you have already lost.

        2. Instead we should celebrate the president’s sad, ineffectual feints at Russia?

        3. Yes, because ( mocking Obama for making useless empty gestures as he flails about fecklessly == wanting to nuke Russia ) evaluates to true.

        4. Aww, isn’t that cute?

          Crimea is still none of our fucking business.

        5. are sad Obama just isn’t manly enough to start World War III

          No we are laughing because Obama is trying to be manly and failing miserably.

          I am pretty sure most here are very happy that he is failing at starting WW3…two stone one bird.

        6. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think we need to stay the fuck out of the whole thing, and Obama is also a pussy. The point isn’t necessarily that the US needs to be tough and aggressive here, but that if you are going to try to be tough, you need to be tough or you just look a fool.

    1. Is your premise for this that all opposition to Obama’s policy vis a vis Russia is “letting out your inner neocon”? Because besides a feeling that Obama is handling the situation very poorly, I do not seen anything approaching a united view on what this policy ought to be (probably because we’re not a monolithic hivemind).

      Do you even have a definition for the word “neocon”, or is that now just a catch-all for “people with views I detest” like what’s happened with the word “fascist”?

      1. Oh he is handling it poorly, but not because he’s not being confrontational enough as most of the commenters in this article seem to think.

        1. I think you are misreading it. Absolute disdain for someone who thinks he is exercising power by having someone Twitter isn’t wishing Obama would be more confrontational.

          1. Yes, but I’d expect the disdain to take the form of complaints about him being meddlesome and nosy, rather than complaints about him making us look weak as many of the insults here seem to be suggesting.

            1. When we mock Obama for looking weak, most of us aren’t mocking him for making *us* look weak.

              That would be like complaining that Ballmer’s mismanagement of Microsoft had made us look like bad operating system designers.

        2. You seem to be putting words in people’s mouths, because with perhaps the exception of that one guy who called Obama a “beta male” I’m not picking up this strain of militarism you’re seeing in the thread.

          1. Apparently, the “FauxNewsLieBertarians” of Reason aren’t responding in the “One True Way” of Stormy Dragon. Therefore, neocons.

        3. not because he’s not being confrontational enough

          Wipe Obama’s dick off your mouth when you talk to us please.

      2. What, from a libertarian view, should he be doing differently?

        1. Staying the fuck out of it completely.

          “Mr. Obama, what do you think of this situation in the Ukraine?”

          “It is horrible for the people who just want to go about their lives. I hope it gets resolved peacefully, and I would be happy to host those talks if they ever become possible.”

          1. Forgive me if I don’t see those complaining of his ineffectual, prom king poodle like responses as being motivated by the idea Obama is responding too much.

            1. You’re forgiven. But I’m in a charitable mood.

            2. Bo, maybe you’ve noticed that when most people on this forum see things one way, you see them another. Think about taking us at our words instead of reading into them what you want to see.

            3. Forgive me if I don’t see those complaining of his ineffectual, prom king poodle like responses as being motivated by the idea Obama is responding too much.

              I’m not inclined to forgive you; you’ve been on this board long enough to have been here during the Syrian crisis, and know that most of us thought President Not-My-Fault was about to blunder into a war with another nuclear power pointlessly.

              For most of us, the calculus involving Ukraine is no different.

        2. Let’s start with firing every imbecile in the State Department that seems to think Twitter is the bold new future of world diplomacy.

          That’s not even a libertarian view, that’s just a “don’t be a total fucking moron” view.

        3. 1) lift the petroleum export ban to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas
          2) stop pretending we stand with Ukraine when we don’t. It sucks they’re being invaded, but they’re on their own.
          3) we need to reform NATO, both in terms of membership and goals

        4. What, from a libertarian view, should he be doing differently?

          Pulling out of Nato.

          Pulling out of the UN

          Pulling out of South Korea.

          Repealing Obamacare

          Cutting military spending

          Deregulating everything.

          Auditing the Fed.

          about 10,000 other things as well.

  14. If I were president I would have worked to diplomatically condemn Russia’s aggression, used similar small, individualized, rising sanctions, and waived trade duties with Ukraine. I amass done very little compared to previous foreign involvements, this us one of those few areas where I approve of what he’s doing.

    1. I would have worked to diplomatically condemn Russia’s aggression, used similar small, individualized, rising sanctions, and waived trade duties with Ukraine.

      Soft Neocon complains about non-existent hard Neocons.

      Color me not surprised at all.

  15. I’m glad I came back and read all these comments. Too funny.

    Mind readers. AMAZING.

    “You can mud wrestle a pig if you want to – you’ll both get muddy, but the pig’ll have fun.” I’ll spot you “Putin’s the pig” in this analogy – can our SoNeoCon Detectors figure it out from there?

    Didn’t think so…:(

  16. The real fuck up was the US joining Russia requesting Ukraine give up its nukes in exchange for non-aggression from the superpowers. What’s happening now is just the nearest brutal superpower expanding into disarmed territory. Not fundamentally different from how a powerful government treats a disarmed populace.

    Exhibit A of why a country shouldn’t agree to unilateral nuclear disarmament.
    India/Pakistan/Israel/etc. are probably taking notes.

  17. I still believe that if sent Biden and Kerry a couple of more times that Putin would tire so quickly of listening to these buffoons that he would agree to stop all this nonsense.

  18. Because of our president’s terrible decision at the beginning of his presidency to eliminate the manned deep space efforts, we now rely entirely upon Russia for transport. We also are vulnerable to others who are developing that capability who may want to place weapons in that space where our Laboratory exists. As it is we must use Russian rockets at astronomical cost to go to our space station. China, Japan India and others are fast surpassing us in space.
    Our president with this Russian feud has left us dangerously vulnerable.

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