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U.S. announces visa restrictions on some Russians

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 6, 2014 at 8:55 a.m.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration slapped new visa restrictions Thursday on pro-Russian opponents of the new Ukraine government in Kiev and cleared the way for financial sanctions as the West began punishing Moscow for its occupation of Ukraine's Crimea region.

The new restrictions targeted an unspecified and unidentified number of people and entities that the Obama administration accused of threatening Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial borders. They were announced in Washington as Secretary of State John Kerry headed into a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Rome.

The anticipated financial sanctions will penalize "those who are most directly involved in destabilizing Ukraine, including the military intervention in Crimea, and does not preclude further steps should the situation deteriorate," the White House said in a statement.

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