WASHINGTON — U.S. sanctions against a Russian bank and the Kremlin’s inner circle have pinched Moscow, but if the goal is to get President Vladimir Putin to roll his forces out of Crimea or deter him from doing any more land grabs, their effectiveness remains in doubt.
Putin has mocked the punitive steps President Barack Obama has taken so far in their post-Cold War game of chess — or chicken.
Putin made jokes of Obama’s decision this week to freeze the assets of businessmen with close ties to him as well as Bank Rossiya, which provides them support. Putin quickly retaliated by slapping travel restrictions on nine U.S. officials and lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain, who quipped: “I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off.”
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