President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered the freezing of US assets and a ban on travel into the United States of those involved in threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Obama signed an executive order aimed at punishing those Russians and Ukrainians responsible for a Russian incursion into the Crimea region of southern Ukraine, a crisis that has raised old-style Cold War tensions.

The order, the White House said in a statement, is "a flexible tool that will allow us to sanction those who are most directly involved in destabilizing Ukraine, including the military intervention in Crimea, and does not preclude further steps should the situation deteriorate."

In addition, the State Department is putting in place visa restrictions on a number of officials and individuals, reflecting a policy decision to deny visas to those responsible for or complicit in threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.


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