Obama Slaps Key Russians With Sanctions Over Crimea Says US support for Ukraine is 'unwavering' By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Mar 17, 2014 10:38 AM CDT 168 comments Comments President Barack Obama speaks about Ukraine, Monday, March 17, 2014, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (Newser) – The White House has responded to Crimea's secession vote by expanding its sanctions to target several Russian officials, people providing "material support" to them, and players in the arms industry, President Obama announced today. In brief remarks, Obama characterized yesterday's referendum as illegal, and said the sanctions would show "that there are consequences for their actions," according to the AP. "I believe there's still a path to resolve this situation diplomatically," Obama said. But "we're going to stand firm in our unwavering support for Ukraine." The White House named seven specific Russian officials that administration sources described as "key ideologists" and "architects" of Russia's invasion, USA Today reports, along with several other individuals, including the prime minister of Crimea and speaker of the Crimean parliament. Moscow, meanwhile, indicated that it would annex Crimea in short order, the Wall Street Journal reports. "We will take care of our part quickly, quickly and responsibly," the speaker of the Duma said. Vladimir Putin will address Russia's parliament on the matter tomorrow.