Russian officials are coming forward to downplay the seriousness behind President Barack Obama issuing a handful of sanctions against key people affiliated to President Vladimir Putin.
According to reports, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin publicly questioned President Obama via Twitter.
Russia’s deputy prime minister laughed off President Obama’s sanction against him today asking “Comrade @BarackObama” if “some prankster” came up with the list. Rogozin, a friend of actor Steven Seagal, took to Twitter to tweak Obama, tweeting he thinks “some prankster” came up with the sanctions list In a later tweet addressed to “Comrade @BarackObama,” he asked, “what should do those who have neither accounts nor property abroad? Or U didn’t think about it?” (ABC News)
Russian official Vladislav Surkov notably referenced the late Tupac Shakur as one of the only interests he has in the United States.
Just look at how Surkov responded to the news that he was being sanctioned by the U.S. “I see the decision by the administration in Washington as an acknowledgment of my service to Russia. It’s a big honor for me. I don’t have accounts abroad. The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.” (New Republic)
Reports claim the sanctions specifically target key people influencing Russia’s domestic policy.
U.S. officials said that, among the sanctioned individuals were the “key ideologists and architects” of Russia’s Ukraine policy, while adding that some of the Russian officials were included in the list for their role in curbing “human rights and liberties” in Russia. (ABC News)
Since the publicized sanctions, Putin has signed a Russia-Crimea treaty.
Mr Putin told parliament Crimea had “always been part of Russia” and he had corrected a “historical injustice”. Crimea was taken over by pro-Russian forces in late February after Ukraine’s president was ousted, and declared independence from Ukraine on Monday. Kiev said it would never accept the treaty and the US has called a G7-EU crisis meeting next week in The Hague. (BBC)