The sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States in response to its invasion of Crimea were "so weak that it's embarrassing," and would have no effect on future threats by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, said former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton.
"I mean, naming 11 individuals and imposing visa restrictions on them and freezing their assets in the United States — it is nothing in the big picture," Bolton, a former ambassador to the United Nations, told Fox News' "America's News HQ" on Monday.
The sanctions were especially timid, Bolton explained, since Putin had "put thousands of Russian troops across an international border" and held a "Soviet-style" referendum in Crimea, where 97 percent of voters cast ballots Sunday to return to Russian rule. On Monday, the Crimean parliament formally requested that Russia annex the breakaway peninsula.
President Barack Obama announced Monday the United States would impose sanctions against Russia, expanding them to include freezing the assets of several Russian officials. Bolton said the officials targeted were "not the big economic oligarchs of Russia."
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Bolton indicated the U.S. response would work to embolden the Russian president to "get a government in [Ukraine] that's subservient to his wishes."
"I think this simply reinforces, in Putin's mind, that he has the high cards. He has the upper hand. And he's going to continue to do what he's been doing," he said.
Bolton suggested the way to get Putin's attention would be to "stop their banks from doing business in the United States, freeze every asset you can find." He said the sanctions merely showed Putin "he's dealing with people who have a real sense of their own weakness."
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