WASHINGTON, July 29 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday Washington has imposed new sanctions on Russia's energy, arms and financial sectors over the Ukraine crisis.
Building on measures unveiled two weeks ago, the United States expanded its sanctions to more Russian banks and defense companies, and blocked the exports of specific goods and technology to Russia 's energy sector, Obama told reporters at the White House.
He said that the United States is formally suspending credit that encourages exports to Russia and financing for economic development projects in Russia.
"Today is a reminder that the United States means what it says and we will rally the international community in standing up for the rights and freedom of people around the world," Obama said.
"If Russia continues on this current path, the costs on Russia will continue to grow," Obama said.
The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement that the U.S. imposed sanctions against three state-owned Russian banks, namely Bank of Moscow, Russian Agricultural Bank, and VTB Bank OAO. The move prohibits U.S. persons from providing new financing to the three financial institutions, limiting their access to U.S. capital markets.
The Treasury Department also designated and blocked the assets of United Shipbuilding Corporation, a defense technologies firm based in St. Petersburg.
"The major sanctions we're announcing today 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, adding that the existing sanctions had made a weak Russian economy even weaker.
The new punitive measures came after the European Union announced earlier in the day that it has agreed a package of " significant" additional restrictive measures targeting sectorial cooperation and exchanges with Russia.
The United States has accused Russia of supporting militants in eastern Ukraine who were allegedly responsible for the downing of a Malaysian jetliner that killed 298 people on board.
While the West claimed that pro-independence insurgents in eastern Ukraine shot down the airliner with a surface-to-air missile, Russia challenged the allegations, demanding the United States make public relevant satellite pictures.
On Tuesday, Obama denied that the West is at a new Cold War with Russia, emphasizing that "it is a very specific issue related to Russia's unwillingness to recognize that Ukraine can chart its own path."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier Tuesday that the fighting between Ukrainian forces and the rebels in the eastern region has prevented investigators from obtaining necessary evidence from the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
"While the Russians have said that they want to de-escalate the conflict, their actions have not shown a shred of evidence that they really have a legitimate desire to end the violence and end the bloodshed," Kerry said after a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin at the State Department.
MOSCOW, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Russia said Tuesday the latest report on Ukraine released by the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was "biased and even hypocritical."
"Its key message is that the government of Ukraine is permitted to legitimately use force to restore law and order in the east of the country," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement, adding that it "de facto justifies the punitive operation."Full Story
BRUSSELS, July 29 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) has agreed a package of "significant" additional restrictive measures targeting sectoral cooperation and exchanges with Russia, announced the European Council in a statement on Tuesday.
These decisions will limit access to EU capital markets for Russian state-owned financial institutions, impose an embargo on trade in arms, establish an export ban for dual-use goods for military end users, and curtail Russian access to sensitive technologies particularly in the field of the oil sector, according to the statement.Full Story
WASHINGTON, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Russian military forces continue to gather on the Ukraine's southeast border, and Russia continues to funnel heavy equipment to Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine, a Pentagon spokesman reiterated on Tuesday.
More than 10,000 Russian soldiers in combined arms battalion tactical units are massed at the border, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said at a press conference.Full Story