The US and the European Union have unveiled the first round of sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis today, amounting to little more than a travel ban for a handful of unnamed officials and a lot of threats for future economic measures.
In addition to the visa restrictions, the EU agreed to temporarily halt negotiations with Russia on a major economic pact, though how long that will last remains to be seen.
The sanctions come with a US demand for immediate negotiations between Russia and the interim Ukraine government, which Russia does not recognize as legitimate. Previously there had been some talk of negotiations between Ukraine and Crimea’s governments, though with Ukraine seeking to arrest materially all of the Crimean officials, that meeting is even less likely.
The demand was followed with threats for major economic sanctions, though these are unlikely since the US lacks significant economic ties with Russia to sever, and the EU nations have too much to lose from halting trade with Russia.
Russia’s parliament, meanwhile, is threatening retaliatory asset freezes if the US follows through on threats to seize the assets of Russian companies. They vowed that any sanctions would be mutual.