President Barack Obama expanded economic sanctions against Russia in response to its actions in Ukraine, with further sanctions on top officials of the Russian government.
"In addition, we are today sanctioning a number of other individuals with substantial resources and influence who provide material support to the Russian leadership, as well as a bank that provides material support to these individuals," said Obama in a statement on the south lawn of the White House.
The President also signed an executive order giving the U.S. the authority to impose sanctions on key sectors of the Russian economy.
In response, Russia imposed entry bans on nine U.S. lawmakers and officials, including U.S. Senator John McCain. Senator Chris Murphy has just returned from Ukraine where he was traveling with McCain. He was not among the U.S. lawmakers included on the Russian entry ban list but he wouldn't have been surprised if he was. Speaking on WNPR’s Where We Live prior to the latest round of sanctions announced by President Obama, Murphy said economic sanctions are “tougher to swallow for the countries that are imposing them."
"Russia does have the ability to bite back," said Murphy. "If we were to impose forward on sanctions of Russian petrol chemical companies to perhaps stop or decrease the gas flow into Europe - if we were to sanction Russian banks that have loads of money in Europe, places like Frankfurt or London, that would have catastrophic effects for the Russian economy, which is at a perilous moment to begin with. But it would also have effects on Europe. "
Murphy urged Europe to join with the U.S. on this next level of sanctions, saying it's important to send a message that Russia’s aggressive behavior will not go unchecked.