U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the crisis in Ukraine from the White House in Washington March 17, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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President Barack Obama on Monday froze the U.S. assets of seven Russian officials, including top advisers to President Vladimir Putin, for their support of Crimea's vote to secede from Ukraine.The Treasury Department also is imposing sanctions on four Ukrainians -- including former President Viktor Yanukovych and others who have supported Crimea's separation -- under existing authority under a previous Obama order.Putin maintained that the vote was legal and consistent with the right of self-determination, according to the Kremlin.The administration officials said they will be looking at additional sanctions if Russia moves to annex Crimea or takes other action. Those targeted will have all U.S. assets frozen and no one in the United States can do business with them under Obama's order.Administration officials say those Obama targeted also are key political players in Russia also responsible for the country's tightening of human rights and civil liberties in the country.
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