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POLITICS: PennAve

White House: 'Judge for yourselves' strength of Ukraine sanctions

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Politics,White House,Russia,National Security,PennAve,Vladimir Putin,Meghashyam Mali,Sanctions,Ukraine,Crimea

The White House on Wednesday encouraged the American public to judge for themselves the strength of the administration's response to Russia after it annexed Ukraine's Crimea region.

“I'd encourage you and the American people to judge for yourselves the strength of the administration's response,” deputy press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters after a question about U.S. sanctions against Russia.

The U.S. and European Union have instituted sanctions against a number of Kremlin and Ukrainian leaders and have laid the groundwork for further measures against key areas of Russia’s economy.

But critics say the moves are not enough to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to relinquish control of Crimea and say more must be done to punish Moscow.

Russian troop movements along Ukraine's border last week sparked further fears of another land grab. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov met over the weekend for talks aimed at de-escalating the situation after Putin called Obama and said he was open to a diplomatic outcome.

“If you look at sanctions put in place against individuals supportive of the Russian government … those were sanctions that have exacted an economic toll on the country,” said Earnest on Wednesday.

“It should be pretty clear to every observer that the U.S. resolve is strong in this situation and NATO stands ready to assert defense of our allies and support the legitimate government of Ukraine against the violation of their territorial integrity,” he added.

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