News / Europe

Obama Slaps Toughest Sanctions Yet on Russia

US, EU to Impose New Sanctions on Russia Over Ukrainei
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July 17, 2014 4:09 AM
Fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine has intensified over the past week, with Ukraine and Russia blaming each other for cross-border attacks. The United States and the European Union have accused Moscow of not doing its part to help restore peace in the region, and they are planning to strengthen economic sanctions against Moscow. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Watch related video report from VOA's Zlatica Hoke.

Mary Alice Salinas

President Obama says the United States is hitting key Russian sectors with new sanctions for its role in the Ukraine conflict.  The U.S. leader accuses Russia of violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and failing to take steps to end the crisis.

Obama says he and European leaders have repeatedly warned Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the flow of fighters and weapons across the border into Ukraine, to urge pro-Russian separatists to release hostages, agree to a cease-fire and enter mediated talks.

Instead, Obama says, President Putin has increased support for separatists, a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Given its continued provocations in Ukraine, today I have approved a new set of sanctions on some of Russia’s largest companies and financial institutions,” says Obama.

The new sanctions target parts of Russia’s financial, energy and defense sectors.  They include freezing the assets of several Russian defense companies and blocking new financing to major energy companies, like Novatek and Rosneft.  They also hit eight Russian firms that produce weaponry, including small arms, mortar shells and tanks.

“These sanctions are significant, but they are also targeted, designed to have the maximum impact on Russia while also limiting the effects on American companies or those of our allies,” says Obama.

The White House says it approved the sanctions after consulting closely with its European partners, who also are considering tougher measures against Russia.

The U.S. announcement comes amid Pentagon reports that Russia has increased its troop presence along the Ukraine border to at least 10,000, up from about 1,000 troops last month.

“What we are expecting is that the Russian leadership will see once again that its actions in Ukraine have consequences, including a weakening Russian economy and increasing diplomatic isolation,” says Obama.   

One senior administration official describes the sanctions package as a “broad, flexible and potent” tool.  And the official warned it could be used to add more pressure on Russia, if it fails to take concrete steps to end the crisis.

  • Rescuers remove damaged materials from a shattered five-story building that was damaged by a recent shelling, near the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk, July 16, 2014.
  • Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk inspects positions held by Ukrainian servicemen, Slovyansk, July 16, 2014.
  • Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk inspects weapons seized from pro-Russian separatists as he meets with Ukrainian servicemen in the eastern town of Slovyansk, July 16, 2014.
  • Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk inspects weapons seized from pro-Russian separatists as he meets with Ukrainian servicemen, Slovyansk, July 16, 2014.
  • Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk (left) speaks to residents during a meeting, in Slovyansk, July 16, 2014.
  • A new volunteer of the Ukrainian self-defense battalion "Azov" holds a sunflower during a ceremony. He will take an oath of allegiance to his country during the ceremony, in Kyiv, July 16, 2014.
  • New volunteers of the Ukrainian self-defence battalion "Azov" walk in front of Saint Sophia Cathedral before taking their oath of allegiance to their country, in Kyiv, July 16, 2014.

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by: Anonymous
July 17, 2014 12:34 PM
If anyone should have sanctions against them its the USA. Messed up enough countries that i dont even have enough fingers to count them. Just buy stuff straight from china, no US middle man. LoL


by: Alex
July 17, 2014 11:27 AM
Well, Vladimir Putin condemns latest US sanctions against Russia, whilst his lap-dog Dmitry Medvedev considers them to be “something useful for the Russian economy”. Today the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev declared at a cabinet meeting in Kremlin that economic sanctions imposed on Rusia by the US and the UE were not harmful, but even something useful for the Russian economy, with what was seemed everyone else agreed.

It seems that Russia is governed by absolute idiots. What can be said about the mentality of ordinary Russian people, if their highest leaders behave yourselves like absolute idiots. So the U.S. and the EU can safely introduce a new echelon of sectoral sanctions against Russia – if previous sanctions were so helpful and benefited for Russians, and Russians do liked them so much, then these new ones will be more useful, more beautiful, more beneficial, and will contribute to maximum prosperity of the Russian economy. So, do not hesitate to decidedly impose more new sectorial sanctions against Russia – their Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will be very happy for that.


by: Gennady from: Russia, volga Region
July 17, 2014 10:38 AM
I agree with President Putin
– that the latest USA’s sanctions against Russia is blackmail in its most evident form,
- that any sanctions from the West in the last 96 years of Russian history, starting from 1917, never ever yielded expected results. Russia proved to be able to exist without the West for decades. This time, I am also sure Russia will survive without American popcorn, corn syrup, chewing gum and chicken legs.
– that the sanctions will fireback at the West, the USA including. President Obama, announcing the latest round of sanctions, should have thought twice when in the first quarter of 2014 the Quartely growth of the real GDP in the USA was catastrophic and plummeted by -2,9%
I expect that the second quarter will bring the same result for the USA's GDP..


by: Bill from: China
July 17, 2014 4:52 AM
Americans can not do any big harm to Russia ever.Americans are only be laughed that the country is that only bully the vulnerable, It's a coward.


by: Guillermo Mannucci from: Argentina
July 16, 2014 11:19 PM
Til now, when the Russians Autorities, see President Putin, broke their vestments for a very small projectile their own military forces detonate into russian soil to justify a new war againts the sovereignt and democratic self dependent state and people of Ukraine, showing a Presidents Putins so faked interested in self determination far from their territory, that he dont respect, if he and the common russians really matters international laws, so he also can to return the undoubtleble sovereign - spannish: archipielago- of the undiscussible Japanese northern islands of Chisima Retto, also knowed by their appelative name of Kuriles. Chisima Retto are the continuity, by the north of Japans island territory.
Japan in a few time in the after 1945 postwar give the islands to USSR, but not as war repaires, because their Royal Majesties from the Emperor and Emperatrice Kingdom of Japan or the Japanese Empirer Hirohito, theire never were in direct acts of war; for all that state of things, its in my opinion, imperative that the USA, and their allies of the International Community, respald the Japanese territory demands to Moskow, for the reintegrity of Chisima Retto to Japan in the short time, tightly and inconditional. I feel a kind and profound respect into my own, for the Government, People of Japan and their civilization. Japaneses have the complete right to receive back what its of their own.


by: Igor from: Russia
July 16, 2014 10:42 PM
Hey Obama, are you ready to receive new Russian sanctions against the US government, individuals including you, companies and other sectors? We also have some interesting things for you all concerning China, India, Latin Ameria Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria...You are incapability in foreign affairs.


by: Alex
July 16, 2014 8:59 PM
It is funny to watch how Putin is hastily strengthening alliance of BRICS countries, trying to make it as a counterweight to NATO, inciting the countries of the third world against the U.S. world dominance, creating a global anti-crisis fund, returning permanently to Cuba to restore the Russian military bases there, whilst Obama being in great despair that Putin has crept up on 250 km to the United States, is desperately trying to thwart Putin’s plans, persuading the EU to take actions, here and there putting traps for him in the form of point sanctions, hoping that it would work. But Putin as irrepressible half-mad man is pressing forward despite any sanctions. I should not be surprised to know if tomorrow that Putin will unleash a wholly war against the "fascist" United States. How it can be that so many highly respected people in the world can not stop one “Kleine Zaches gennant Zinnober”.


by: meanbill from: USA
July 16, 2014 6:31 PM
Obama "quote" said it; .... "The US has the greatest military forces in the world" ... and he now showed Russia just what that means, (nothing), when it can't defeat anybody, and the country with the greatest military forces in the world, is reduced to only issuing sanctions against Russia, cause it can't do anything else?

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