- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 20, 2014

U.S. lawmakers slapped with sanctions by the Russian government Thursday after President Obama announced new steps of his own to punish Russia for taking over Crimea appear to be just fine with it.

“I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off, my Gazprom stock is lost, and my secret bank account in Moscow is frozen,” said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican. “Nonetheless, I will never cease my efforts on behalf of the freedom, independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea.”

“While I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to go on vacation with my family in Siberia this summer, I am honored to be on this list,” tweeted Sen. Dan Coats, Indiana Republican. “Putin’s recent aggression is unacceptable, and America must join with our European allies to isolate and punish Russia. …I will continue to lead efforts on Capitol Hill to bring Putin to his senses.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, apparently felt the Russians should be less concerned about him and more worried about Sen. Mary Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat.

“President Putin, it’s one thing to pick on me, but I wouldn’t mess with Mary,” Mr. Reid tweeted.

Sen. Bob Menendez, New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Mr. Putin’s actions are “brutal, totally unacceptable, and sadly returns us to a period of Cold War aggression and hostility.”

“It doesn’t have to be this way, but if standing up for the Ukrainian people, their freedom, their hard earned democracy, and sovereignty means I’m sanctioned by Putin, so be it,” he said.

Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said that Mr. Boehner “is proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against Putin’s aggression.”

White House officials on the list include Deputy National Security Adviser Caroline Atkinson, senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, and Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.

The U.S. lawmakers and White House officials are not allowed to travel to Russia.

Mr. Obama said Thursday that the U.S. is expanding its own list of sanctions to include wealthy oligarchs in the inner circle of Mr. Putin, more senior government officials and a Russian bank that provides “material support” to the Russian leadership.


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