U.S. President Barack Obama has signed into law legislation passed by the U.S. Congress authorizing more sanctions on Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis.
The president said in a statement Thursday that while he signed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, it "does not signal a change" in the administration's sanctions policy. He said at this time, the administration does not intend to impose sanctions under this law, but the Act gives the administration "additional authorities that could be utilized, if circumstances warranted."
The measure gives the administration the authority to impose further sanctions on Russia over its annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. It also authorizes $350 million in lethal and non-lethal military aid to the Ukrainian government, including anti-tank weapons, munitions and surveillance drones.
Obama said in his statement Thursday that his administration's sanctions policy regarding Russia's actions in Ukraine has been "carefully calibrated in accordance with developments on the ground and coordinated with our allies and partners."
On Thursday, the European Union imposed new sanctions against Crimea, which Moscow said were "absolutely unacceptable."