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Russia hits back with its own sanctions after US "hostile thrust"

Source: Reuters - Thu, 20 Mar 2014 17:40 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Adds reaction from American lawmakers)

MOSCOW, March 20 (Reuters) - Russia imposed retaliatory sanctions on nine U.S. officials and lawmakers on Thursday as tension over Moscow's annexation of Crimea mounted, warning the West it would hit back over "every hostile thrust."

Three White House officials and five U.S. senators - Harry Reid, Robert Menendez, John McCain, Mary Landrieu and Dan Coats - were among the Americans barred from Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner was also on the list.

"We have repeatedly warned that sanctions are a double-edged instrument and would hit the United States like a boomerang," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "There must be no doubt: We will respond adequately to every hostile thrust."

Moscow's action followed U.S. sanctions on Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean individuals announced by President Barack Obama on Monday and again on Thursday.

The latest U.S. sanctions, which also involved a bank, targeted several individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin in retaliation for his military seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region. Any assets they have in the United States will be frozen and they will also be barred from U.S. travel.

The White House officials cited by Moscow were senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer and deputy national security advisers Ben Rhodes and Caroline Atkinson.

Lawmakers in Washington were quick to welcome their new designation.

"The speaker is proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against Putin's aggression," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.

Senator Dan Coats threw in a bit of sarcasm.

"While I'm disappointed that I won't be able to go on vacation with my family in Siberia this summer, I am honored to be on this list," the Indiana Republican said. (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova and Ludmila Danilova, and Patricia Zengerle in Washington; Writing by Steve Gutterman and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Andrew Roche and James Dalgleish)

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