The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

World News

April 28, 2014

Obama: U.S. to levy new Russia sanctions today

MANILA, Philippines — Seeking to ratchet up pressure on Vladimir Putin, President Barack Obama said the United States will levy new sanctions today on Russian individuals and companies in retaliation for Moscow’s alleged provocations in Ukraine.

Obama said the targets of the sanctions would include high-technology exports to Russia’s defense industry. The full list of targets will be announced by officials in Washington later Monday and are also expected to include wealthy individuals close to Putin, the Russian president.

“The goal here is not to go after Mr. Putin personally,” Obama said. “The goal is to change his calculus with respect to how the current actions that he’s engaging in could have an adverse impact on the Russian economy over the long haul.”

Obama announced the sanctions during a news conference in the Philippines, his final stop on a four-country Asia swing. The president has been building a case for this round of penalties throughout his trip, both in his public comments and in private conversations with European leaders.

The new sanctions are intended to build on earlier U.S. and European visa bans and asset freezes imposed on Russian officials, including many in Putin’s inner circle, after Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last month.

White House officials say they decided last week to impose additional penalties after determining that Russia had not lived up to its commitments under a fragile diplomatic accord aimed at easing the crisis in Ukraine. But the U.S. held off on implementing the sanctions in order to coordinate its actions with the European Union, which could also announce new penalties as early as Monday.

The failed diplomatic agreement reached in Geneva just over a week ago called on the Kremlin to use its influence to get pro-Russian insurgents to leave the government buildings they have occupied.

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