Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

State News

March 21, 2014

Russia's Putin sanctions White House aides, U.S. lawmakers

Sen. Dan Coats responds

Responding to American sanctions of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, the Russian government announced its own list Thursday, in an indication of how the Kremlin views who holds the power in Washington.

Heading up the list are three White House aides: senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, and deputy national security advisers Ben Rhodes and Caroline Atkinson.

Also targeted for sanctions are Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

“The Speaker is proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against Putin’s aggression,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Washington’s most vocal Russia hawk and the leader of a Senate delegation to Ukraine last week, made the list, but Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who was the most prominent Democrat on the trip, did not.

Senate Foreign Relations Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-La.) also drew Russia’s attention, as did Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats.

“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,” Coats said in a statement. “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.”

Though the Russians have essentially laughed off the sanctions imposed by the White House, an administration official Thursday morning dismissed that as “bluster,” saying they’re feeling the pain.

At this point, the impact of the sanctions isn’t at all clear —the Russians that the American sanctions targeted, according to administration officials, had holdings in international accounts that can be impeded or frozen. That does not seem to be the case for the nine Americans in Putin’s sights.

“If standing up for #democracy & sovereignty in #Ukraine means I’m #SanctionedByPutin, I’ll take it,” Menendez tweeted.

Burgess Everett contributed to this report. Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/russia-sanctions-white-house-aides-us-lawmakers-104854.html#ixzz2wWlNocBy

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