Russian President Vladimir Putin is apparently striking back at the U.S. with his own sanctions against American officials—and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin is not exactly quivering in fear.
Hours after the Obama administration unveiled sanctions to punish a number of Russian and Ukrainian officials, The Daily Beast reported that Putin is crafting his own financial hit list targeting Obama administration officials and U.S. senators. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, is said to be at the top of Putin's sanctions list, which could be unveiled as early as Tuesday.
"My Lithuanian-born mother would be proud her son made Vladimir Putin's American enemies list," Durbin, who just returned from a trip to Ukraine, told National Journal.
The Obama administration levied sanctions against 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials for their roles in a referendum on Sunday in which Crimea overwhelmingly voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. The U.S. and other Western countries denounced the Crimea referendum as a violation of international law and Ukraine's constitution. Russian forces continue to occupy the region.
Durbin had his own choice words for Putin. "Vladimir Putin is certainly acting like the Soviets of the past. He believes every surrounding country is his to claim," Durbin said in an interview. "What he's done to the Republic of Georgia during the Bush administration, what he's done to Ukraine during this administration, has indicated his appetite for other countries is undiminished."
This article appears in the March 18, 2014 edition of NJ Daily.