President Obama and the European Union imposed new sanctions on Russia Tuesday that they said will further cripple its economy, hopefully forcing President Vladimir Putin to end his support of armed rebels in Ukraine and to seek peace.
While previous sanctions have focused on specific businesses and individuals, the new set is designed to hit major pillars of the Russian economy, including oil and gas supplies and technology, banking and finance, and arms sales. Close associates of Putin are also targeted.
New economic penalties "will continue to ratchet up the pressure on Russia, including the cronies and companies that are supporting Russia's illegal actions in Ukraine," Obama said at the White House.
Earlier sanctions were more symbolic in nature, and "were sort of the bare minimum the EU had to do in order to pass the laugh test," said Mark Dubowitz, an analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. "These start moving into sectors of the Russian economy."