(THE DAILY BEAST) — The Associated Press reported Monday that Russia is already suffering some economic consequences of its aggression in Ukraine. The Russian stock market is down 12 percent, the ruble is falling, and the Russian central bank has hiked interest rates in an attempt to shore up the value of its currency.
Behind the scenes, Obama administration officials are preparing a series of possible battle plans for a potential economic assault on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, an administration source close to the issue told the Daily Beast. Among the possible targets for these financial attacks: everyone from high-ranking Russian military officials to government leaders to top businessmen to Russian-speaking separatists in Ukraine. It’s all part of the work to prepare an executive order now under consideration at the Obama administration’s highest levels.
The Obama administration came under sharp criticism over the weekend for not responding quickly or strongly enough to the takeover of the Ukrainian province of Crimea. Meanwhile, a team of State Department, White House, and Treasury Department officials worked to provide the president a menu of sanctions and other economic pressure levers that Obama might add to that executive order.