[Ed. – Freezing their assets off: A different kind of ‘cold war.’]
Behind the scenes, Obama administration officials are preparing a series of possible battle plans for a potential economic assault on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, an administration source close to the issue told The Daily Beast. Among the possible targets for these financial attacks: everyone from high-ranking Russian military officials to government leaders to top businessmen to Russian-speaking separatists in Ukraine. It’s all part of the work to prepare an executive order now under consideration at the Obama administration’s highest levels.
The Obama administration came under sharp criticism over the weekend for not responding quickly or strongly enough to the takeover of the Ukrainian province of Crimea. Meanwhile, a team of State Department, White House, and Treasury Department officials worked to provide the president a menu of sanctions and other economic pressure levers that Obama might add to that executive order..
Secretary of State John Kerry, who will travel to Kiev Tuesday, promised harsh consequences for the Russian government if it continued its aggression in Ukraine—and hinted at the economic retalation to come.
“There could even be, ultimately, asset freezes, visa bans. There could be certainly disruption of any of the normal trade routine. There could be business drawback on investment in the country. The ruble is already going down and feeling the impact of this,” Kerry said Sunday on Meet the Press. “And the reason for this is because you just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests.”