Putin Assembles Blacklist of US Leaders for Asset and Travel Ban to Russia

Monday, 17 Mar 2014 09:55 PM

By Cathy Burke

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President Vladimir Putin has reportedly assembled a blacklist of Obama administration officials and U.S. senators, including Majority Whip Dick Durbin, banning their travel and freezing any assets there.

Putin's sanctions are expected to come Tuesday, The Daily Beast reported, citing diplomatic sources.

The retaliatory slap comes in the wake of President Obama's asset and travel ban Monday on seven Russian officials and four Ukrainian officials.

At the top of Putin's tit-for-tat list is the Illinois Democrat, who with fellow Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen.Jeffrey Flake, R-Ariz., passed a measure last week to give Ukraine financial aid and impose sanctions on Russia.

"Are we going to stand by and say this is acceptable conduct? Because this isn’t the end of his ambition," Durbin said on NBC’s "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Durbin's listing would mirror that of Valentina Matvienko, the head of the upper chamber of the Russian Duma, who wound up on Obama's sanction list, The Daily Beast pointed out.

"My Lithuanian-born mother would be proud her son made Vladimir Putin’s American enemies list," Durbin said in a statement to the newssite.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, who's been to Kiev to meet with Ukrainian leaders, said he fully expects to be on the Putin enemies list — and couldn't be more pleased.

"You think I’m not going to be on it?" McCain asked The Daily Beast. "I would be honored to be on that list," then joked: "I guess I’m going to have to try to withdraw my money from my secret account in St. Petersburg."

The Daily Beast said other names that may be listed, but that the news site had not confirmed, include Sens. Robert Menendez , D-NJ,  and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., also members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee leading a sanctions drive, and Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for Europe, who's been been working with the Ukrainian opposition.

McCain told The Daily Beast the U.S. cannot bend to any of Russia's sanctions.
 "If we acquiesced to that, that would be a green light for him to go for Moldova, where there are also Russian troops," he said. "That’s the problem with this appeasement policy."
McCain wants even stronger measures against Putin to thwart any possible expansion of the invasion.

"... Putin has put everything in place for a de facto partition of Eastern Ukraine," he told The Daily Beast. "Will he do it? I don’t know. But I don’t think he can be discouraged from that by these limited actions by the United States.... We must commit to the ultimate return of Crimea to Ukraine, just as we promised to the so-called captive nations that they would eventually be free of Soviet domination."

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