News / USA

Washington React: US Imposes Visa Ban Amid Ukraine Crisis

U.S. President Barack Obama answers a question about the situation in Ukraine in Washington, D.C. March 4, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama answers a question about the situation in Ukraine in Washington, D.C. March 4, 2014.
Luis Ramirez
President Barack Obama says the United States considers an upcoming referendum on Ukraine's future illegal and on Thursday he ordered restrictions on U.S. visas and financial sanctions for Russians and Ukrainians who are impeding the democratic process in Ukraine.

The new set of visa restrictions and financial sanctions are part of what Obama says is the cost that Russia will have to pay for interfering in Ukraine.

Speaking to reporters Thursday at a previously unannounced White House briefing, the president condemned a referendum that has now been set for March 16 on whether Ukraine's Crimea region should become part of Russia.

“The proposed referendum on the future of Crimea would violate the Ukrainian constitution and would violate international law.  Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine.  In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders,” he said.

Obama signed an executive order that authorizes sanctions on those responsible for violating what the president says are the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.   

U.S. officials did not name the individuals who will have their visas to visit the United States cancelled or denied, but said they will include both Russians and Ukrainians who have been most directly involved in destabilizing the country.

They declined to say whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will be among those targeted.

On Capitol Hill, some U.S. lawmakers praised the move. Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said penalties should be stepped up.

“Denying and revoking visas of Russian regime members who are connected to belligerent actions in Ukraine and freezing and prohibiting any of their U.S. property transactions are moves in the right direction, but now we must name and shame these persons,” she said.

The United States has protested what it says is Russia's deployment of troops in the Crimean peninsula - an act Washington says is in direct violation of Ukraine's sovereignty.

The Obama administration has been working to de-escalate the crisis.  Officials on Thursday said the penalties could be removed if Moscow returns its troops to Russian bases in Ukraine and recognizes Ukraine's new government.  At the same time, Washington warns it will step up sanctions if Russia should decide to move forces farther into eastern Ukraine.

Secretary of State John Kerry has been in Rome meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, but there has been no agreement on ending the crisis.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Maciek from: Poland
March 08, 2014 4:33 AM
I'm with you, the USA, and if indeed it comes to military action that I will be one of those who, together with allies oppose aggression from Russia, I'm glad that the state immensely as great as the USA is not indifferent to this situation and you are ready together with the forces of uni European stand shoulder to shoulder and not leave ukraine same against such aggressive mad and unbridled President of Russia to be honest you are the only who can exert on it a fear and pressure to cease operations


by: Vince257 from: France
March 07, 2014 6:46 AM
Russia and Ukraine suffer from their money going abroad, mainly to UE and USA. Those sanctions will remind Russians, Ukrainians(and many others: Indians, Chinese people, and so on) not to trust "Occident" for investing money.
The whole money system is based on trust, and this trust should be backed by military forces/intelligence/propaganda. Obama and his administration, UE have made a terribly wrong move: they proved their army/intelligence/propaganda inefficient and that in addition they could not be trusted concerning money system! This is very, very bad for USA and UE.

In addition Obama seems like he somehow forgot he is half black: this is isn't good neither in Russia or Ukraine.


by: john Mac from: maribyrnong
March 07, 2014 1:00 AM
I don't know if Obama administration knows what they are doing ?. Their strategy base on .........."Hope."


by: çhukwuemeka ukor from: lagos nigeria
March 06, 2014 12:06 PM
I just dont know what putin wants.


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
March 06, 2014 12:02 PM
This guy is daft. Is he helping Russia or what is he trying to do? Some Russians may want to leave the country and defect to USA, like Edward Snowden defected to Russia - hmn...talk of one good turn: USA may be asking for its pound of flesh as a result of Snowden snubbing - but visa restrictions will bastardize all of that. USA can pretend to seize the assets of rogue - rather stray - Russians who refused to listen to Putin's warning not to do so, which may be a thank you diplomacy for Putin (Lavrov) helping out during the Syria red-line saga - remember?

Yeah, it's a game, but I know as USA knows too, that Putin's Russia does not play the game of chess on the field of football. All the noise about sanctions should have their limit; after all it's been Russia holding the four aces in the negotiation of Iran's nuclear program, Syria's civil war, - all of which can impact the Middle East initiative (the Israelis and Palestinians) as well as SALT1 and SALT2 initiatives that have limited drastically the militarization of the Outer Space otherwise referred to by the late Ronald Regan as Stars Wars.

The West should grow up and find ways of curbing garrulous tendencies capable of reactivating the old order called the Cold War, NATO or not. Remember it's the nuclear age, and Russia has abundance of nuclear materials and capability. Of course we all know that with the exception of Lavrov, Russia is not too used to diplomacy. So we should try as much as possible to avoid situations that can make Russia revert to its old self.


by: Dmitriy from: Crimea
March 06, 2014 10:05 AM
Please help us here in Crimea. Russian invasion will kill us and they are going to migrate us to Far East of Russia. Putin wanna our genocide!!!!

In Response

by: Nessa from: UK
March 12, 2014 9:52 AM
First of all 56 % of Crimea population is Russian speakers and have close bond with Russia ( large number of the families of mariners from Russia live there ) . Those people also voted for ousted president of Ukraine and not happy to follow pro- western separatists. There is no proof to this point that Ukrainians in Crimea ( minority ) is suffering more than other people involved in a conflict around Ukraine, if so gives us some serious facts not bla bla bla …

By the way, I am originally from Belarus, and to me your comments sounds one-sided ! I am not supported of Russia however manufacturing, tourism in Ukraine similarly to Belarus attract business from Russian not the West !!!

In Response

by: Serg from: Ukraine
March 10, 2014 8:38 AM
We will be killed by the government is much faster than the Russian military. Our president has betrayed us. Pensions are not allowed. Salaries are not allowed. Our family will not survive if it would. My father is very ill. I cant go to America because my family have no money even for food. This war will bring death to the Ukrainian people.

In Response

by: musawi melake
March 06, 2014 3:03 PM
Well, the US and the West have abetted and oversw many Genocides, and saved the perpetrators at venues like UNHRC by giving the authority to investigate and deliver justice to the same perpetrators(like asking the murder to find out wheather he really did it and if so decide the punishment). They surely will do so as long as they remain powerful and are able to dictate terns to less capable entities. The same may be true for Russia, i.e. as long as they have nukes, resources and permanent seat at the UN, they decide!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid