Europe, U.S. Significantly Expand Sanctions Against Russian Economy

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Many Western Officials Don’t Expect Putin to Withdraw Support of Pro-Russia Rebels in Ukraine.

The U.S. and the European Union adopted sweeping economic sanctions against Russia on Tuesday to punish Moscow’s unbending stance in the Ukraine conflict.

The question for the West now is whether the move will make Russian President Vladimir Putin more cooperative or prompt him to dig in.

The trade and investment restrictions that EU governments, after much agonizing, agreed upon mark a major escalation of sanctions against Russia, which so far have been mostly token measures targeting individuals. New measures hitting Russia’s banks, oil industry and military could increase financial strains in its already sluggish economy while withholding technology that the nation’s modernization relies on.

The U.S. followed the EU’s move by announcing similar sanctions against Russian banks as well as the energy, arms and shipping sectors. President Barack Obama hailed Europe’s adoption of its most significant sanctions yet against Moscow, saying the U.S. and EU steps would have “bigger bite.”

The rift with Russia is “not a new Cold War,” Mr. Obama said Tuesday. “What it is is a very specific issue related to Russia’s unwillingness to recognize that Ukraine can chart its own path,” he said.

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