President Obama spoke from the White House this morning on developments in Ukraine, shortly after his administration announced sanctions against seven Russian officials involved in the crisis. “If Russia continues to interfere in Ukraine, we stand ready to impose further sanctions,” Obama said, adding that not listening will “only deepen Russia’s diplomatic isolation.”
The president previously promised a sanctions order, but today the White House released the list of targets. […]The sanctions do not target Vladimir Putin, an extraordinary circumstance the U.S. said it would try to avoid, but does focus on several of his close aides and officials including Viktor Yanukovych, the deposed president of Ukraine.
Asked about Putin specifically, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney added, “We’re not going to rule out individuals or rule out actions, except to say that there will be additional costs imposed on Russia, if Russia does not change direction here when it comes to how it’s handling the situation in Ukraine.”
And now it’s time to guess what congressional Republicans are complaining about. Is it (a) Obama using an executive order to pursue a policy they said they wanted; (b) Obama waiting to too long to endorse the same policy they said they wanted; or (c) arguing that the sanctions don’t go far enough to meet GOP standards.
If you said “C,” give yourself a prize.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Monday criticized President Obama for not offering military assistance to Ukraine.Obama on Monday announced sanctions against 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials following Sunday’s disputed referendum in Crimea, but McCain said the president should have gone further by putting military assistance on the table.
After Obama announced the same sanctions McCain endorsed last week, McCain told msnbc’s Andrea Mitchell, “The president’s response, I don’t how it could have been any weaker, besides doing nothing.” On Twitter, the senator added that it was “incredible” that today’s announcement didn’t include military resources.