WASHINGTON — President Obama announced on Thursday that he is levying additional sanctions against Russian officials as well as a bank in response to Moscow's move to annex the Crimea region of Ukraine.
Obama spoke just hours after Russia's lower parliament ratified a treaty to make Crimea a part of the Russian Federation. Crimeans voted overwhelmingly in a hastily arranged referendum earlier this week to join Russia.
The White House has repeatedly called the referendum and Russia's action "illegal."
"This is not our preferred outcome," Obama said in a statement from the South Lawn of the White House. "These sanctions would not only have a significant impact on the Russian economy, but could also be disruptive to the global economy. However, Russia must know that further escalation will only isolate it further from the international community."
Obama said that he also signed a new executive order Thursday that gives the United States authority to impose sanctions not just on individuals but on "key sectors of the Russian economy."
Earlier this week, Obama announced sanctions against seven Russian officials with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as four Ukrainian that the White House says have contributed to the crisis in Ukraine.
Obama said in an interview on Wednesday that there is currently no military option being considered to respond to Russia's action.
"But what we can do is stand up for principle, stand by the Ukrainian people," Obama told KSDK-TV.
Obama will meet with leaders of the Group of Eight--minus Russia--next week in the Netherlands to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The meet will occur on the margins of the biennial Nuclear Security Summit.
British Prime Minister on Wednesday said the leaders should discuss expelling Russia from the G-8.