Obama Expands Sanctions Against Top Aides, Associates Of Putin Over Annexation Of Crimea

President Obama on Thursday expanded sanctions against Russia for seizing Crimea from Ukraine and minutes later, the Kremlin retaliated by banning nine American officials from Russia. Some of the Americans singled out by Moscow reacted with derision and defiance. I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off, Gazprom stock is lost & secret bank account in Moscow is frozen, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on Twitter. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images President Barack Obama addresses the crisis in Ukraine during a White House address Thursday.
Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/obama-address-ukraine-crisis-11am-white-house-statement-article-1.1727886

President Obama returned to the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” Thursday but he didn’t bring his dance moves this time. He did, however, come prepared with a gentle shot aimed at the popular comedian, who earlier this month outdid Obama with a “selfie” photograph she took while hosting the Academy Awards. “I thought it was a pretty cheap stunt myself, getting a bunch of celebrities in the background,” Obama gently ribbed, referencing DeGeneres’ famous “selfie” that featured Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey and Bradley Cooper. The photo broke the record for being retweeted the greatest number of times — a record that had previously been held by Obama for a photo of himself and first lady Michelle on election night 2012. The Ellen Show The appearance marked President Obamas second time on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. In 2007, during his first White House campaign, he famously danced with DeGeneres.
Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/obama-returns-ellen-degeneres-show-joking-selfie-record-touting-obamacare-article-1.1728252

Defying U.S. and European warnings, Russia moved troops several weeks ago into Crimea, a part of Ukraine with an ethnic-Russian majority population. In short order, it organized a referendum in which Crimea voted to become part of Russia and Putin announced this week that Russia would annex the region. On Thursday, the lower house of the Russian parliament voted 443 to 1 to admit Crimea and the metropolitan region of Sevastopol into the Russian Federation, putting some of the final procedural touches on the takeover. The bill is scheduled to be taken up Friday by the upper house, the Federation Council, where its expected approval will make Crimea officially part of the country under Russian law.
Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-expands-sanctions-against-top-aides-associates-of-putin-over-annexation-of-crimea/2014/03/20/ad5166f8-b04d-11e3-a49e-76adc9210f19_story.html

Mrs. Obama, who flew Wednesday from Washington, D.C., is making a week-long trip to three Chinese cities and will speak with children at several schools about the importance of education and youth empowerment. The U.S. first lady has several activities and events scheduled Friday with Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan. “Her visit and her agenda sends a message that the relationship between the United States and China is not just between leaders, it’s a relationship between peoples,” said Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes. Kermit prefers Michelle Obama to …
Source: http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/20/politics/michelle-obama-china/index.html

Obama sanctions more Russians over Crimea, but keeps US energy weapon sheathed

There is little in the way of energy trade between Russia and the US, so cutting it off wouldn’t have much impact on either side. It might only provoke more Russian aggression toward Europe, where a breakdown in fuel supplies would cause a lot of pain. (Europe gets about 30 percent of its natural gas from Russia.) The most effective options for US intervention are not punitive sanctions against Russia but constructive http://www.obamastudentloanforgiveness.net support for Ukraine and its neighbors aiding them in their pursuit of non-Russian sources of energy, including from the US. However, diversifying European energy and boosting US exports are years-long solutions to challenges that are unfolding day by day. They aren’t guaranteed to work, either, and could have negative economic and environmental impacts domestically.
Source: http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2014/0321/Obama-sanctions-more-Russians-over-Crimea-but-keeps-US-energy-weapon-sheathed

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