Lsno/fog
27°
Lsno/fog
Hi 33° | Lo 25°

U.S., European Union impose tough new sanctions on Russia

  • President Barack Obama speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, as he announces new economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy in the latest move to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his support for Ukrainian rebels.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

    President Barack Obama speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, as he announces new economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy in the latest move to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his support for Ukrainian rebels. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

  • President Barack Obama speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, as he announces new economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy in the latest move by to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his support for Ukrainian rebels.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

    President Barack Obama speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, as he announces new economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy in the latest move by to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his support for Ukrainian rebels. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

  • President Barack Obama speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, as he announces new economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy in the latest move to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his support for Ukrainian rebels.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

    President Barack Obama speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, as he announces new economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy in the latest move to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his support for Ukrainian rebels. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

  • President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the south lawn of the White House, in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, on the continuing violence in Ukraine. President Obama says new U.S. and European sanctions will make Russia's weak economy even weaker. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

    President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the south lawn of the White House, in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, on the continuing violence in Ukraine. President Obama says new U.S. and European sanctions will make Russia's weak economy even weaker. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, July 16, 2014 file photo, Russia's President Vladimir Putin he arrives for an official group photo during the BRICS summit at the Itamaraty palace, in Brasilia, Brazil. Frustrated by the apparent ineffectiveness of previous sanctions and outraged by the deaths of 298 people aboard the Malaysia Airlines plane downed over eastern Ukraine, the European Union adopted tough new economic sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 EU officials and diplomats said. The measures, which were prepared in coordination with the United States, include an arms embargo, and a ban on the sale of dual use and sensitive technologies, such as advanced energy technology equipment relevant for deep sea and Arctic drilling. Such equipment will now be subject to prior approval by competent national authorities, an EU official said. Under the financial sanctions, Russian state-owned banks will be banned from selling bonds or equities with a maturity of over 90 days in European capital markets, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make public statements. The ambassadors also added eight names to the list of people subject to EU-wide asset freezes and travel bans, including four people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the EU official said. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File )

    FILE - In this Wednesday, July 16, 2014 file photo, Russia's President Vladimir Putin he arrives for an official group photo during the BRICS summit at the Itamaraty palace, in Brasilia, Brazil. Frustrated by the apparent ineffectiveness of previous sanctions and outraged by the deaths of 298 people aboard the Malaysia Airlines plane downed over eastern Ukraine, the European Union adopted tough new economic sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 EU officials and diplomats said. The measures, which were prepared in coordination with the United States, include an arms embargo, and a ban on the sale of dual use and sensitive technologies, such as advanced energy technology equipment relevant for deep sea and Arctic drilling. Such equipment will now be subject to prior approval by competent national authorities, an EU official said. Under the financial sanctions, Russian state-owned banks will be banned from selling bonds or equities with a maturity of over 90 days in European capital markets, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make public statements. The ambassadors also added eight names to the list of people subject to EU-wide asset freezes and travel bans, including four people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the EU official said. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File )

  • President Barack Obama speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, as he announces new economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy in the latest move to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his support for Ukrainian rebels.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
  • President Barack Obama speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, as he announces new economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy in the latest move by to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his support for Ukrainian rebels.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
  • President Barack Obama speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, as he announces new economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy in the latest move to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his support for Ukrainian rebels.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
  • President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the south lawn of the White House, in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, on the continuing violence in Ukraine. President Obama says new U.S. and European sanctions will make Russia's weak economy even weaker. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
  • FILE - In this Wednesday, July 16, 2014 file photo, Russia's President Vladimir Putin he arrives for an official group photo during the BRICS summit at the Itamaraty palace, in Brasilia, Brazil. Frustrated by the apparent ineffectiveness of previous sanctions and outraged by the deaths of 298 people aboard the Malaysia Airlines plane downed over eastern Ukraine, the European Union adopted tough new economic sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 EU officials and diplomats said. The measures, which were prepared in coordination with the United States, include an arms embargo, and a ban on the sale of dual use and sensitive technologies, such as advanced energy technology equipment relevant for deep sea and Arctic drilling. Such equipment will now be subject to prior approval by competent national authorities, an EU official said. Under the financial sanctions, Russian state-owned banks will be banned from selling bonds or equities with a maturity of over 90 days in European capital markets, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make public statements. The ambassadors also added eight names to the list of people subject to EU-wide asset freezes and travel bans, including four people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the EU official said. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File )

Spurred to action by the downing of the Malaysian airliner, the European Union approved dramatically tougher economic sanctions yesterday against Russia, followed swiftly by a new round of U.S. penalties targeting key sectors of the Russian economy.

The coordinated sanctions were aimed at increasing pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his country’s support for separatists in eastern Ukraine whom the West blames for taking down the passenger jet nearly two weeks ago. President Obama and U.S. allies also warned that Russia was building up troops and weaponry along its border with Ukraine.

“Today Russia is once again isolating itself from the international community, setting back decades of genuine progress,” Obama said. “It does not have to be this way. This a choice Russia and President Putin has made.”

Europe’s actions were particularly significant given that the continent has a far stronger economic relationship with Russia than the U.S. does. Until this week, the EU sanctions had lagged behind American penalties, in part because of leaders’ concerns about a negative impact on their own economies.

But Europe’s calculus shifted sharply after a surface-to-air missile brought down the passenger jet, killing nearly 300 people including more than 200 Europeans.

European Union President Herman Van Rompuy and the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said the sanctions sent a “strong warning” that Russia’s destabilization of Ukraine cannot be tolerated.

“When the violence created spirals out of control and leads to the killing of almost 300 innocent civilians in their flight from the Netherlands to Malaysia, the situation requires urgent and determined response,” the two top EU officials said in a statement.

Yet it remains uncertain whether the tougher penalties will have any impact on Russia’s actions in Ukraine – nor was it clear what other actions the U.S. and Europe were willing to take if the situations remains unchanged. U.S. officials said they believe economic pressure remains their most effective tool, and Obama reiterated his opposition to sending lethal aid to the Ukrainian military.

The new European penalties include an arms embargo on Moscow and a ban on the unapproved sale to the Russians of technology that has dual military and civilian uses or is particularly sensitive, such as advanced equipment used in deep-sea and Arctic oil drilling.

To restrict Russia’s access to Europe’s money markets, EU citizens and banks will be barred from purchasing certain bonds or stocks issued by state-owned Russian banks, according to EU officials.

The specific targets of the EU actions will be published tomorrow, when they will take effect.

U.S. officials said they expected Europe’s list of targets to include some of the same energy companies, defense entities and financial institutions the Obama administration hit with sanctions the day before the Malaysian airliner was shot down. The White House has been pressing Europe in recent days to bring its penalties in line with the U.S., both to increase the economic pressure on Moscow and present a united Western front.

As part of that effort, Obama also announced an expansion of the U.S. sanctions on Russian economic sectors. Among the targets were three major Russian banks: the Bank of Moscow, Russian Agricultural Bank and VTB Bank, Russia’s second-largest bank.

Administration officials said 30 percent of the Russian banking sector’s assets were now targeted by U.S. sanctions. The main function of the sanctions is to curtail the financial institutions’ ability to access U.S. debt markets, not to block individual users from using their accounts or credit cards, according to the officials.

The U.S. also targeted the St. Petersburg-based United Shipbuilding Corporation, a defense technologies firm, and was blocking future technology sales to Russia’s oil industry.

The U.S. and European officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the sanctions by name.

Legacy Comments1

Wow. Double secret probation....we really got those rascally Russians now.

Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.