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One day after Crimea voted almost unanimously to break from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum the West cast as illegitimate and potentially fraudulent, the White House on Monday announced new sanctions on Russian officials and their cohorts. The executive order accuses Moscow of trying to "undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine" and authorizes the Treasury to target the financial assets of seven government officials as well as "any individual or entity that operates in the Russian arms industry" and anyone who "acts on behalf of, or that provides material or other support" to any senior Moscow officials.
The sanctions specifically name seven Russian officials as well as four others, including pro-Russia Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, and ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Russian President Vladimir Putin is not cited by name, with the White House saying such a move would be "highly extraordinary." Still, in a conference call to discuss the sanctions, a White House official called them the "most comprehensive sanctions applied against Russia since the end of the Cold War."