The State Department Thursday imposed a visa ban on Russian and Ukrainian officials and individuals responsible for or complicit in threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, CNN reported.
President Obama also Thursday signed an executive order laying the groundwork to impose sanctions against individuals and entities responsible for the crisis.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement the move was a response to "Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity - actions that constitute a threat to peace and security and a breach of international law."
While no people or entities have been identified yet, the executive order authorizes sanctions against those responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine; threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine; contributing to the misappropriation of state assets of Ukraine; or purporting to assert governmental authority over any part of Ukraine without authorization from the Ukrainian government in Kiev.
The sanctions would include freezing assets, blocking property under U.S. jurisdiction and preventing U.S. businesses would be prohibited from doing business with any individual or entity listed.
As a result of protests in Ukraine, the country's President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted on Feb. 22. The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) has approved the new composition of the parliament and is preparing to hold pre-term elections.
On Feb. 26 several thousand people participating in two rallies gathered in front of Supreme Council of Crimea. After the escalation of the protest actions in Crimea, the Federation Council supported President Vladimir Putin's appeal regarding the use of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine pending "the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country".
Leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and the U.S., as well as chairman of the European Council and the chairman of the European Commission made a joint statement condemning Russia's position on Ukraine and canceled the preparations for the G8 summit in Sochi, scheduled for June 2014.