The White House is hoping to "impose a cost" on Russia — and it's doing it with sanctions.
"Sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine."
Yes, speaking Thursday from the White House briefing room, Obama slammed Russia for sending its troops into the Ukraine's Crimea region.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer called the statement "very strong" — and notes the EU has also said it was willing to impose sanctions on Moscow for sending its troops into Crimea in Ukraine.
Secretary of State John Kerry, meanwhile, has been meeting with foreign ministers from the UK, France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia — trying to find a diplomatic solution to the situation in the Ukraine.
In reality, not much progress there yet though — as those meetings have largely been talks about talking. But as Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has said — it's either a diplomatic or a military solution to stop what he calls Russia's "invasion."
But Crimea, an autonomous republic of Ukraine which is majority ethnic Russian, just might join Russia. Its parliament just asked Moscow to become part of the Russian Federation. (Via BBC)
In his statement Thursday Obama said he opposed a referendum that would split Crimea from Ukraine — saying it would violate both Ukraine's Constitution and international law. The sanctions announced Thursday will hit a range of former Ukrainian government officials, as well as Russian military, government, and business leaders.
And while it's a concrete step, TIME's Zeke Miller notes it only affects money within or controlled by the U.S. and its financial institutions, so "The response is unlikely to severely inconvenience the intended targets."