The US Department of the Treasury imposed a broad-based package of sanctions yesterday on entities in the financial services, energy and arms or related materiel sectors of Russia as well as on those undermining Ukraine's sovereignty or misappropriating Ukrainian property.
"Russia has continued to destabilise Ukraine and provide support for the separatists, despite its statements to the contrary," Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S Cohen said.
"Because Russia has failed to meet the basic standards of international conduct, we are acting today to open Russia's financial services and energy sectors to sanctions and limit the access of two key Russian banks and two key energy firms to US sources of financing and to impose blocking sanctions against eight arms firms and a set of senior Russian officials," he said.
President Obama said Russia has continued with its provocative and destabilising actions in Ukraine. "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," Obama told White House reporters soon after Department of Treasury announced the new tough sanctions on Russia.
"Along with our allies, with whom I've been coordinating closely the last several days and weeks, I've repeatedly made it clear that Russia must halt the flow of weapons and fighters across the border into Ukraine; that Russia must urge separatists to release their hostages and support a ceasefire; that Russia needs to pursue internationally-mediated talks and agree to meaningful monitors on the border," Obama said.
He said along with the many of European partners, they have made this clear directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The European Union also ordered tougher sanctions against Russia yesterday over Ukraine, asking the European Investment Bank to sign no new financing agreements with Moscow.
The EU leaders, meeting in Brussels, agreed to act together to suspend financing of the new European Bank for Reconstruction and Development operations in Russia. The sanctions by EU and the US came after fighting between the Western-backed Ukraine government and pro-Russian separatists took another violent turn, with 55 civilians killed since the weekend.
Reacting to the development, the Russian President warned that sanctions will boomerang and hit back at US national interests.