News / Europe

Obama Announces New Sanctions Against Russia

New US, EU Sanctions Imposed Against Russia Over Ukrainei
Scott Stearns
July 29, 2014 11:55 PM
The United States and European Union are imposing tougher new sanctions against Russia for its support of separatists in eastern Ukraine. Tuesday's sanctions announcement came as Ukraine's foreign minister accused Russia of continuing to send fighters and weapons across the border. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports.
Related video report by Scott Stearns.
VOA News

President Barack Obama announced new sanctions against Russia, just hours after the European Union expanded its own punitive measures over what the West sees as Moscow's continued efforts to destabilize Ukraine.

New US, EU sanctions on Russia

  • Until July 29, 2014, sanctions solely targeted individuals and organizations accused of directly threatening Ukraine and its interests
  • New sanctions prohibit Russian state-owned banks from raising funds in Western capital markets
  • About 30% of Russia’s banking sector will be impacted
  • Energy-related technology used for Russia’s oil exploration and development is blocked
  • Affected areas include technology relating to deep-water or Arctic drilling and exploration projects
  • EU officials say the ban extends to about 10% of overall energy exports to Russia
  • Restrictions on Russian arms exports
  • A ban on trade of dual-use sensitive defense technologies with Russia

Sources: Reuters and multiple news reports

Citing Russia's unrelenting support of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, Obama said on Tuesday that, in coordination with European partners, the U.S. was imposing sanctions on more Russian banks and defense companies, as well as on the country’s energy, arms and finance sectors.

The measures, he said, “will make a weak Russian economy even weaker.”

Saying that the U.S. has built a strong international coalition to support Ukraine and increase pressure on Russia, Obama emphasized that President Vladimir Putin has a choice to make.

“A sovereign and independent Ukraine is no threat to Russian interests,” he said, adding that it has a right to chart its own course.

EU sanctions

European Union countries reached agreement on Tuesday to impose new economic sanctions against Russia, targeting its oil industry, defense, dual-use goods and sensitive technologies, according to diplomats.

The measures will also shut state-owned Russian banks out of European capital markets.

The decision was reached by EU ambassadors at a meeting in Brussels.

The new sanctions, imposed on Russia over its role in the conflict in Ukraine, will be subject to review after three months, according to one diplomat.

In a conference call with President Barack Obama on Monday, the leaders of Britain, Germany, Italy and France expressed their willingness to adopt new sanctions against Russia in coordination with the United States.

Diplomats said that participants of the talks on Tuesday have also approved a new list of people and companies close to Russian President Vladimir Putin to be sanctioned under previous punitive measures.

The list, expected to be made public Wednesday, will add to the 87 people and entities, already penalized with asset freezes and other measures over Russia’s role in the conflict in Ukraine.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU measures against Moscow were "unavoidable."

The EU had been reluctant to impose sectoral sanctions on Russia fearing the move might adversely impact the economies of its member states, but the recent downing of a civilian airliner over Ukraine, resulting in the deaths of 298 people, seems to have strengthened the bloc’s resolve.

The EU depends on Russia for much of its natural gas and oil.

Ukraine fighting

Intense fighting between advancing Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine killed dozens of civilians, soldiers and rebels, as Kyiv pressed on with an offensive Tuesday, including near the crash site of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

Shells hit the center of Donetsk, a city with a pre-war population of nearly a million, and one of the two remaining main urban rebel strongholds. One person was reported killed.

Earlier, municipal officials said up to 17 people, including children, were killed in fighting in the town of Horlivka, north of Donetsk. In Luhansk, the other urban rebel stronghold, officials said five civilians were killed when shells hit a retirement home.

Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine National Security and Defense Council said 10 Ukrainian soldiers were killed over the last 24 hours. Separatist commander and Russian citizen Igor Strelkov said that 30 of his fighters have been killed or wounded.

Also Tuesday, CNN quoted U.S. officials as saying the Ukrainian military had fired short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missiles at the rebels over the preceding 48 hours.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian military spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov accused separatists firing rockets at residential buildings in the city of Shakhtarsk, not far from the Malaysian plane's crash site.

MH17 crash site access blocked

Violence in the region has also hampered international experts' efforts to access the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 for a third day. A Dutch police mission said it abandoned plans to travel there Tuesday due to fighting along the route.

Meanwhile, Ukraine and the Netherlands have reached a draft agreement on an international mission to protect the investigation of the downing of MH17 and facilitate the recovery of remains at the crash site.

The mission, according to the text of the agreement published on website of Ukraine's parliament, will consist of up to 700 personnel authorized to carry weapons for their self-defense.

Mission members will hold a status “equivalent to that accorded to the administrative and technical staff of a diplomatic mission,” the draft agreement says.

Meanwhile, rebels threatened Tuesday to ban personnel from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe from the crash site, accusing them of “serving the interests of the United States and Ukraine,” according to a statement emailed by the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic."

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.


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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: shane from: Aust
July 30, 2014 6:51 AM
We all know US / Uk only want the oil / gas. Their own countries are in a mess and US dollars IS on the way out. so lets bring the whole down as well.

by: bmw from: Bavaria
July 30, 2014 5:43 AM
USA and EU have announced today new portion of sanctions imposed on Russia. How do you think Russia 's stock market reacted to that? They have risen 3% today)))) It's ridiculous!!!

by: riano baggy from: ina
July 30, 2014 2:58 AM
why US take more sanctions to Rusia? BUT not take sanctions to Israel even community world and UN and EU condemn aggression Israel to Palestina in GAZA STRIP ,how many people die,injured and lost their homes by Israel strike... US must change their geopolitical to stress Israel stopping aggression and obey UN SOLUTION
In Response

by: Igor from: Russia
July 30, 2014 4:10 AM
Do you know why? Because Isarel is the USA's right hand in the Middle East and the USA cannot cut off his right hand even if that hand is covered with blood of innocent victims. The USA is not a Just so it cannot do the job of a just.

by: Rodney Moya from: South Africa
July 30, 2014 1:11 AM
is this not the start of the cold war

by: TUAN QUOC from: Vietnam
July 29, 2014 10:24 PM
Even small and poor countries such as Vietnam did not fear the US's sactions after Vietnam had liberated the South and also Cambodia (from the Khmer Rough regime), which had been supported by the USA. Mr. Obama must learn from history!

by: Igor from: Russia
July 29, 2014 10:10 PM
Sanction a superpower? Crazy enough! You think some of your western countries can make up the whole world? or you think the whole whole cannot exist without you? As I have told you before, you are creating more opportunities for other emerging countries to do their business with Russia. Your sactions even make it impossible for you to negotiate with Russia and maybe others regarding nuclear weapons, missiles, weapon of mass destruction. space co-operation, anti- terrorist co-operation...You are going to a complicated maze an you will not find the way out!

by: meanbill from: USA
July 29, 2014 9:13 PM
CRAZY isn't it?.... The US imposed more sanctions on Russia, on things the Russians were have supposed to have done, (with no evidence to support their claims), and only supported by the US accusations and unverifiable facts..... (Yet), everybody in the world see's the atrocities committed by the Israeli's on the Palestinians, and the US rewards the Israeli's by resupplying them with bullets, missiles and bombs to continue on their bloody rampage..... (CRAZY how the US see's things, isn't it?).

by: us from: us
July 29, 2014 7:58 PM
Was it not the US who was destabilizing that region first? May be they hate Russia for being part of BRICS? maybe the US should impose sanctions on Israel too

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
July 29, 2014 1:55 PM
Why is Putin pushing Russians? For what? Russian speakers? Or does he see think Russia can bomb her way to have her ways ?why the double stance? Putin accuses US of arming Syrian Rebels while he arms Ukrainian Rebels coming from Russia ?

by: Vasa from: Russia
July 29, 2014 12:35 PM
Our stock market have risen today 1%. We don't fear your ridiculous sanctions!!!
Comments page of 2

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