President Barack Obama on Thursday announced the U.S. would join the European Union in intensifying sanctions on Russia’s finance, energy, and defence sectors.
“We will deepen and broaden sanctions in Russia’s financial, energy, and defence sectors,” Obama said in a statement. “These measures will increase Russia’s political isolation as well as the economic costs to Russia, especially in areas of importance to President Putin and those close to him.”
Obama declined to offer specifics on the new measures, saying the White House would outline them in more detail on Friday.
Obama said the new sanctions were being imposed in response to Russia’s “actions to further destabilize Ukraine over the last month,” including an incursion of at least 1,000 Russian forces into eastern Ukraine to fight with pro-Russian separatists in eastern regions of the country. The president also said a ceasefire reached last week has not produced “conclusive evidence” Russia has worked to de-escalate the crisis.
The new E.U. sanctions impose travel bans on 24 Russian officials, and further cut off European exports to Russia of certain high-technology products. According to The New York Times and other reports, the new sanctions are expected to take aim at Russia’s energy industry — in particular its oil exploration.
This is the fourth round of escalatory Western sanctions against Russia for its involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.
“I encourage President Putin to work with Ukraine and other international partners, within the context of the Minsk agreement and without setting unreasonable conditions, to reach a lasting resolution to the conflict,” Obama said.
“As I said last week, if Russia fully implements its commitments, these sanctions can be rolled back. If, instead, Russia continues its aggressive actions and violations of international law, the costs will continue to rise.”
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