WASHINGTON, March 5 (RAPSI) – In response to Russia’s stance on developing Ukrainian crisis, the US has imposed sanctions against officials and individuals who are deemed responsible for the threats to Ukraine’s sovereignty, according to the White House statement released on Thursday.

The New York Times reported Thursday that US President Barrack Obama has issued an executive order creating a legal basis for the imposition of penalties against individuals and entities deemed to have undermined Ukrainian territorial integrity.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after having met with US Secretary of State John Kerry that the US “continues escalating tensions.” No lists have been compiled yet of Russian citizens to be hit with visa sanctions, according to Lavrov.

Earlier this week, US and European officials warned  that Russia’s alleged actions in Ukraine could lead to economic sanctions and asset freezes.

Russia’s parliament has approved possible military intervention in Ukraine, but President Vladimir Putin has denied that troops have been deployed and has called the masked soldiers currently operating in the region, “local militia.”