News Column

U.S. expands sanctions against Russia to core industries

July 16, 2014

The United States said Wednesday it has expanded its economic sanctions against Russia to an unprecedented extent since Moscow's annexation of Crimea, targeting companies in the core industries of banking and energy.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Russia's efforts to ease tensions in the Ukrainian crisis have fallen short of expectations, demanding Moscow urge separatists to release their hostages and support a cease-fire.

"We have to see concrete actions and not just words that Russia, in fact, is committed to trying to end this conflict along the Russia-Ukraine border," Obama said at the White House.

The U.S. government said the entities subject to the sanctions include two major Russian financial institutions, Gazprombank and VEB, as well as two energy firms, Novatek and Rosneft.

U.S. authorities prohibit U.S. citizens from providing new financing to the companies, which have restrictions on their access to U.S. capital markets.

U.S. authorities also froze assets of eight Russian defense companies and officials including Oleg Savelyev, Russia's minister for Crimean affairs.

The Obama administration tightened its punitive measures against Russia as the U.S. Defense Department said Russia has built up its forces again in areas near the border with Ukraine to a level of 10,000-12,000 personnel from some 1,000 several weeks ago.

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Source: Japan Economic Newswire

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