Russia has accused the European Union of a "complete lack of understanding" of Ukraine's domestic politics, as the bloc released the names of 15 new targets of sanctions due to their roles in the Ukraine crisis.
Russia's foreign ministry says the EU sanctions were a "direct invitation for local Neo-Nazis" to continue their lawless acts in the southeast.
In addition to the EU sanctions announced Tuesday, the United States targeted seven Russian officials and 17 companies Monday for travel bans and asset freezes.
The EU sanctions list includes Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of staff of Russia's armed forces. Those listed by the United States include President Vladimir Putin's envoy to Crimea, the chief of the service protecting the Russian president and the head of Russia's largest state-owned oil producer. ]]
The Kremlin is promising a "painful" response.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Tuesday that economic sanctions on Russia have caused a "substantial deterioration" in Russia's economy. He told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee that Washington is prepared to take further action if Russia's policies do not change.
Japan on Tuesday said it would deny visas to 23 Russians as part of its sanctions against Moscow for "infringing" on Ukraine's sovereignty. It did not identify those affected.
The Pentagon says Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu assured Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Russian forces will not invade eastern Ukraine.
The two spoke by telephone on Monday, with Hagel wanting clarification on Russia's intentions. Shoigu told Hagel that Russian troops had returned to barracks after conducting exercises on the Ukrainian border. But a NATO official told reporters Tuesday that NATO has seen no sign that the troops are withdrawing.
A Pentagon spokesman said Hagel emphasized how dangerous the situation is, and that Ukraine has the right to preserve law and order inside its borders.
Hagel also asked for Russian help in freeing seven European inspectors held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
On Tuesday, pro-Russian separatists stormed the regional governor's headquarters in the eastern Ukraine city of Luhansk. Separatists now control Ukrainian government buildings in at least 11 eastern and southern cities. They are demanding referendums on whether to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.
A similar vote in Crimea last month led to Russia's annexation of that Ukrainian peninsula.