Obama hits Russian officials with sanctions after Crimea vote

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Ukraine Map

(KPLR) – Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed a decree, recognizing the independence of the Republic of Crimea.

U.S. President Barack Obama slapped sanctions on senior Russian officials for the occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Sunday, Crimean’s voted to join Russia, but Washington is calling the referendum invalid and illegal. President Obama said he’ll ramp up those sanctions unless Russian president Putin pulls his troops out of Ukrainian territory and negotiates with the Ukrainian government.