President Obama just announced that the U.S. will join the European Union in slapping Russia with more sanctions, in response to President Putin’s continued support of Russian separatists and refusal to cooperate with an international investigation of the MH17 plane crash.
New sanctions on energy, arms and finance will be imposed, as well as blocking exports of specific goods, and sanctions on banks and defense. The new sanctions will also make it more difficult for Russia’s oil industry to operate.
"Russia and its proxies in Ukraine have failed to cooperate [and] continued to shoot down Ukrainian aircraft in the region," President Obama said. "Russia continues to support the separatists- and encourage them, train them, and arm them."
He added, “It is not in Ukrainian capacity to out-fight the separatists.”
Russia’s economic growth is already close to zero, and energy and defense sectors in particular are feeling the sting.
"Russia is once again isolating itself from the international community, setting back decades of international progress. And it didn’t have to come to this," Obama said. "This is a choice that Russia, and President Putin in particular, has made."
The sanctions are the EU’s most restrictive since the start of the crisis in Ukraine.
"Today is a reminder that the U.S. means what it says," Obama said. He offered continued condolences to the families of the victims killed in the MH17 tragedy.