Obama: US to levy new Russia sanctions Monday

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Seeking to ratchet up pressure on Vladimir Putin, President Barack Obama said the United States will levy new sanctions Monday 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.

White House officials say they decided last week to impose the new sanctions 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 accord reached in Geneva called on the Kremlin to use its influence to get pro-Russian insurgents to leave the government buildings they have occupied in eastern Ukraine. But those forces have not only balked at leaving those buildings, but have also stepped up their provocations, including capturing European military observers.

Even as he announced the new sanctions package, Obama acknowledged that “we don’t yet know whether it’s going to work.”

Associated Press

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