New 'Cold War' as Barack Obama announces sanctions on 20 of Vladimir Putin's allies
Russia says the west's tough talk is a laughing stock in Moscow as Putin's "Mafia" are amused by timid responses
America and Russia were locked in a Cold War-style diplomatic stand off as tensions over Ukraine threatened to boil over.
Barack Obama dramatically ramped up his response to Russia’s take-over of Crimea - announcing sweeping sanctions on 20 of Vladimir Putin’s closest cronies.
Among the latest of Putin’s cronies to be targeted by America is Igor Sergun - head of Moscow’s GRU - or Foreign Military Intelligence, who is behind all of Russia’s foreign dirty tricks.
Sergun has been behind every one of the shadowy arms deals with Iran and Syria which have shored up
President Bashar al-Assad’s position.
The list also includes the the man known as “Putin’s banker“ Yuri Kovalchuk, his chief of staff Sergey Ivanov - and even his oligarch judo sparring partners Arkady and Boris Rotenberg.
Vladimir Yakunin - one of the most powerful men in Russia who has a family home in London - was also named on the list.
Mr Putin immediately hit back - placing nine top US politicians on their own sanctions blacklist - including the former Presidential candidate John McCain.
But the veteran Senator last night said: “I’m proud to be sanctioned by Putin - I’ll never cease my efforts & dedication to freedom & independence of Ukraine, which includes Crimea.“
Mr Obama promised further sanctions if Mr Putin moves into Eastern Ukraine.
But Russia vowed to retaliate. “There should be no doubt - each hostile attack will be met in an adequate manner,“ the Russian foreign ministry said.
The tit-for-tat row came as EU leaders met for crisis talks in Brussels last night - amid growing fears that Russia was preparing a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva Yurii Klymenko told diplomats that there were “indications that Russia is on its way to unleash a full blown military intervention in Ukraine’s east and south“.
David Cameron arrived in Brussels, demanding a fresh round of sanctions on Mr Putin’s regime amid mockery in Russia over the steps taken so far.
The PM said: “What Russia has done is unacceptable and the countries of the European Union need to speak with a clear and united voice.
“What that means is more asset freezes and travel bans.“
But powerful financial and trade sanctions have all but been ruled out. And there will be no asset freezes against Russian oligarchs based in London, such as Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
German leader Angela Merkel has called on Russia to be kicked out of the G8 and a further 12 names were last night expected to be added to the EU’s sanctions blacklist.
But Russia’s main opposition leader has attacked the West’s response.
Alexei Navalny said Mr Abramovich and major Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov should be banned from travelling to Britain and have their assets seized in retaliation for Russia’s Crimea invasion.
Mr Navalny said Putin and his “mafia“ circle were laughing at the West’s timid response.
He said: “After all the tough talk from Western politicians, this action is mocked in Russia and even seen as a tacit encouragement to Mr Putin and his entourage, who seem to possess some magical immunity.“
美国的制裁名单中包括俄罗斯军事情报总局局长伊戈尔•谢尔贡（Igor Sergun），俄罗斯商人、被称为“普京的私人银行家“的尤里•科瓦尔恰克（Yuri Kovalchuk），俄总统办公厅主任谢尔盖•伊万诺夫（Sergey Ivanov），俄罗斯富商、普京的柔道伙伴阿尔卡季•罗滕伯格和鲍里斯•罗滕伯格兄弟（Arkady and Boris Rotenberg），以及俄罗斯铁路公司总裁弗拉基米尔•亚库宁（Vladimir Yakunin）等人。