WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Monday froze the U.S. assets of seven Russian officials for their support of Crimea’s vote to secede from Ukraine, including those of Yelena Mizulina, the Russian Duma (Parliament) Deputy who authored the controversial anti-gay propaganda law last year.
Administration officials say those targeted by are key political players in Russia, and are also responsible for the country’s tightening of human rights and civil liberties in the Russia.
The financial assets of Mizulina and the others were ordered frozen in an executive order issued Monday, the White House said in a statement.
A source at the Treasury Department told LGBTQ Nation late Monday that the president’s decision was based on her status as a senior Russian parliament member and not her sponsorship of the bill. The White House declined comment initially on whether her authorship of the anti-gay law contributed to the decision to freeze Mizulina’s assets.
Obama said he was moving to “increase the cost” to Russia, and he warned that more people could face financial punishment.
The U.S. announcement came shortly after the European Union announced travel bans and asset freezes on 21 people they have linked to the unrest in Crimea. Obama administration officials say there is some overlap between the U.S. and European list, which wasn’t immediately made public.