U.S., Europe Impose New Sanctions on Russia

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from The Wall Street Journal,

President of Oil Giant Rosneft Is Among the Targets; EU to Add 15 More Individuals to Its List.

The U.S. and Europe imposed sanctions on a slate of new Russian government officials and business entities in an effort to pressure President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian allies to cease their military activity in eastern Ukraine.

But the West’s action, which was initially expected more than a week ago, fell significantly short of the expansive sanctions Kiev’s government and many members of Congress have been demanding.

Russia’s economy has been weakening for months, in large part due to the crisis in Ukraine, but the Moscow stock market jumped Monday as analysts said investors found the latest sanctions to be less severe than anticipated.

U.S. and European officials said they held off targeting broad sectors of Russia’s economy, including its energy, banking and military industries, due to fears of an economic backlash and concerns that such measures could undermine diplomatic efforts to cooperate with Russia in stabilizing Ukraine.

The White House sanctioned two Russian business executives closely associated with Mr. Putin and the Kremlin— Sergei Chemezov of Rostec Corp, a technology-focused conglomerate, and Igor Sechin of the energy-supplier OAO Rosneft.

The European Union, however, balked at blacklisting any alleged business cronies of Mr. Putin due to a mix of legal, diplomatic and economic considerations. European countries are much more tied to Russia’s energy trade than the U.S.

“There’s still a lot of nervousness in Europe about heading in that direction,” said a senior European official involved in the EU’s sanctions debate. “They don’t want to burn bridges with the Kremlin.”

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