(Orginal Source Reuters
) - United States President Barack Obama targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies with a series of personal sanctions on Thursday. The sanctions come amid a growing geopolitical conflict between the East and West which reached a new height this week with the annexation of Crimea by Russia.
The personal sanctions, which include visa bans and asset freezes, come as Moscow continues to escalate its military presence in the region.
Russian troops took over three Ukrainian warships on Thursday in Crimea, using stun grenades in one incident. Ukraine is currently developing plans to withdraw its troops and their families back to the mainland.
The list of blacklisted individuals includes Kremlin banker Yuri Kovalchuk and oil commodity trader Gennady Timchenko.
Russia reacted by issuing similar sanctions against US politicians in retaliation.
Senior officials from the European Union met in Brussels on Thursday to discuss sanctions against Russia as well.
"We will be a step behind the Americans," a senior European diplomat said.