Mr. Putin responded by issuing his own sanctions against nine U.S. officials: Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (misspelled by the Russians as “Reed”), Nevada Democrat; Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat; Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican; Sen. Mary Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat; Sen. Dan Coats, Indiana Republican; and White House advisers Dan Pfeiffer, Ben Rhodes and Caroline Atkinson.
Many of the Americans named took the designation as a badge of honor. An aide to Mr. Boehner said the speaker is “proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against Putin’s aggression.”
On Wednesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov threatened to stop cooperating with the U.S. and its allies in diplomatic talks with Iran, aimed at halting Tehran’s nuclear weapons program.
But Russian officials said their involvement in the talks may change in light of U.S. sanctions.
“We wouldn’t like to use these talks [with Iran] as an element of the game of raising the stakes, taking into account the sentiments in some European capitals, Brussels and Washington,” Mr. Ryabkov was quoted as saying by Russia’s Interfax news agency. “But if they force us into that, we will take retaliatory measures here as well.”
The White House brushed off that threat.
“Russia has no interest in nuclear proliferation or an escalation of the situation in the Persian Gulf,” a senior administration official said. “They’re invested in diplomacy with Iran because it is in their own interest. It’s not a favor to us.”
The new U.S. sanctions targeted Russia’s Bank Rossiya, with $10 billion in assets. The Treasury Department said it is the personal bank for senior officials of the Russian government, including Mr. Putin’s inner circle.