This July 14, 2014 file photo shows black smoke billowing following a mortar attack during fighting between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian fighters in Luhansk, Ukraine.
Pres. Obama announced "significant" and "targeted" sanctions on Russia on Wednesday for the country’s actions in Ukraine.
Russia has so far failed to take any of the steps that the U.S. has demanded in Ukraine, the president said. Now, he added, it will now pay the greater economic price.
“These sanctions are significant but also targeted,” the president said, stating they were designed to have the maximum impact on Russia while avoiding any spillover effects on American companies or our allies.
The bottom line: “Russia will see that its actions in Ukraine have consequences.”
The sanctions (see the full list) will target key areas of the Russian economy, including the financial, energy and defense industries, as well as a handful of senior Russian officials. But officials say the penalties stop short of fully cutting off sectors of the Russian economy, a step the U.S. is holding in reserve in case Moscow launches a full-scale invasion of Ukraine or takes similarly provocative actions.
The sanctions, which come as the West grapples for a way to quell an insurgency in eastern Ukraine widely believed to be backed by Moscow, also target the so-called Luhansk People's Republic and Donetsk People's Republics. The sanctions are meant to ensure "that we strangle those efforts," a senior administration official said, referring to any attempt by the breakaway republics to seek outside financing.
European officials are also deciding whether to levy tougher sanctions on Russia as well.
Previous rounds of sanctions "have had a significant impact on the Russian economy," a senior administration official said on Wednesday.
In response, Moscow called the sanctions unacceptable, threatening retaliation against the U.S.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Tags: RUSSIA, Ukraine, US & World, WORLD