Obama: U.S. sanctions are straining Russia

DEB RIECHMANN Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama said Wednesday that U.S. sanctions levied against Russia over its actions in Ukraine are working but that Washington would face a much different set of questions about how to respond if Moscow invaded eastern Ukraine.

Obama was also asked about the impact of sanctions on the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin hit back hard against the U.S. for imposing sanctions against Moscow's moves in Ukraine.

Russian state news agency RIA Novosti quoted a Russian official as saying all agricultural products produced in the U.S. won't be allowed into Russia.

According to USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. exporters shipped $1.3 billion worth of food and agricultural products to Russia in 2013. U.S. poultry exports make up the largest portion of the total, with a little more than $300 million in exports to Russia last year.

"If you look at the markets and you look at estimates in terms of capital flight, if you look at projections for Russian growth, what you're seeing is that the economy has ground to a halt," Obama said.

Pot brownies: A 19-year-old Texas man who could face years in prison for making brownies laced with marijuana and hash oil said Wednesday he remains scared despite new evidence that his attorney believes should reduce the charges. A handful of pot legalization supporters welcomed Jacob Lavoro as he entered a Williamson County courthouse near Austin for the second time since his April arrest. He is accused of selling the brownies for $25 and is facing felony charges that carry stiff penalties, ranging from five years to life in prison. "I'm scared. Very scared," Lavoro said. "I'm 19 years old and still have a whole life ahead of me. Take that into account."

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