White House promises new Russia sanctions
The White House has condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and said it was preparing a fresh round of sanctions in response to the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.
"More is coming," said White House spokesman Jay Carney, a day after the United States slapped sanctions on 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials, penalties that some critics said did not go far enough to get Moscow's attention.
As the United States and European allies seek coordinated responses to pressure Russia, President Barack Obama and the leaders of the other six Group of Seven (G7) economies scheduled a meeting at The Hague next week to discuss Ukraine on the fringes of an already scheduled nuclear security summit.
The White House said in a statement the G7 meeting will focus on further steps that the grouping may take to respond to developments and to support Ukraine.
Leaders of the G7 - representing the United States, Germany, Britain, Italy, France, Canada and Japan - have already suspended preparations for a June meeting in Sochi, Russia, at which Putin would have served as the host.
The Sochi summit is now deemed unlikely to take place and there is even speculation the G7 could move to expel Russia from the G8 after Putin signed a treaty making Crimea part of Russia, an outcome that Washington condemned and said would never been accepted as legal.
Carney, briefing reporters at the White House, strongly hinted that subsequent rounds of sanctions in response to the Crimea move could include some of the powerful and wealthy oligarchs who have close ties to Putin. The first round of sanctions on Monday hit two Putin aides.
"I think anyone who understands how the Russian system of governance works and who has influence in that system understands the kind of person that we're talking about here, and the fact that they have substantial assets, not just in Russia, but abroad," he said.