News / Europe

White House: Obama Readies New Sanctions for Russia

  • Pro-Russian fighters guard their military unit in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, June 27, 2014.
  • A just-released member of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine gets out of a vehicle next to Alexander Borodai, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Donetsk, Ukraine, June 26, 2014.
  • A man sorts donated clothes at a former concert hall converted into a center for collecting humanitarian aid for refugees in Donetsk, Ukraine, June 26, 2014.
  • A man says goodbye to his relatives as they prepare to cross the border into Russia at the checkpoint in Izvaryne, Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine, June 26, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian separatists man a road checkpoint outside the town of Lysychansk in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, June 24, 2014.
  • A coal miner walks at Privilnyanska coal mine damaged by shelling in the town of Pryvillya in Luhansk, Ukraine, June 24, 2014.
  • People block a car carrying Russian Ambassador in Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and Ukrainian lawmaker Nestor Shufrich after a meeting with leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic in Donetsk, Ukraine, June 23, 2014.
  • People with their faces covered take part in a pro-Ukrainian anti-separatist rally near the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, June 22, 2014.
  • An activist from a pro-Ukrainian radical youth group stands in a front of riot police outside the Russian embassy in Kyiv, June 22, 2014.
  • Riot police protect an office of the Russian Sberbank after people attacked it with the stones in Kyiv, June 22, 2014.
Images from Ukraine
VOA News

The Obama administration says it is ready to impose fresh sanctions on Russia, if Moscow fails to take action to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine.  The White House, however, says it has delayed implementation as it presses for unified support from European and U.S. manufacturers for the measures.

“What it comes down to is we're balancing a lot of important national imperatives and the president is mindful that these policies are most effective when we are acting in close coordination with our allies as these sanctions or potential sanctions are implemented," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest speaking Wednesday.

He said the new sanctions would target Russia's banking, energy and defense sectors, if Moscow fails to stem the cross-border flow of military hardware and fighters into Ukraine.

In Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told NATO foreign ministers that Russian President Vladimir Putin must call on pro-Russian separatists battling Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine to disarm.  He also called on the Russian leader to show his full "commitment to the peace process and to the stability of Ukraine."

Some opposition to sanctions

The threat of new sanctions comes as American business leaders campaign against unilateral penalties, claiming they will hurt U.S. interests and cost American jobs.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Washington-based National Association of Manufacturers plan to stress the perceived threat to U.S. interests with a newspaper advertising campaign.  

European leaders also have voiced concern that new sanctions could otherwise hurt Europe's expanding economic ties with Moscow.  The European Union and the United States imposed earlier sanctions against specific Russian individuals and companies after Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in March.

In related developments, President Putin has begun phone negotiations with the leaders of Ukraine, Germany and France, aimed at monitoring and extending a week-long cease-fire announced Friday by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Poroshenko's office said the Ukrainian leader urged Putin "to take concrete steps to stop the supply of weapons and equipment to militants."  It also said the four leaders agreed to speak again Thursday.

VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez contributed to this report.

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Comment Sorting
by: Ukropitek from: RF
June 26, 2014 1:54 AM
It is necessary that Obama publicly called Poroshenko stop power operation

by: Not Again from: Canada
June 25, 2014 10:46 PM
The minimalist and slowly incremental approach to the sanctions, has not produced significant results in minimizing the violence observed in the Ukraine. Had a rapid and significantly incrementally increasing set of sanction not being rejected, by some of the EU, the situation right now would have been close to stability, and fewer lives would have been lost.

Insignificant sanctions have produced insignificant results, the consequences have been great unnecessary bloodshed/loss of lives, pain, ethnic dissociation,and a negative view of the EU. The transatlantic partnership demonstrated that Canada and the US close ranks, while many of the EU principals just dragged their feet, and reduced the overall outcome. With every life lost in the Ukraine, return to stability and peace will just be more difficult to achieve.

As usual, as past history demonstrates, the EU principals drag the alliance's deterrent impact down. Not a very positive state of affairs, because it is creating very negative perceptions/divisive opinions even amongst EU members. Let us hope that some of these un-decisive EU elites, do give Pres Obama their full and prompt support this time around, and not drag the will to the lowest possible and embarrassing meaningless action.

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