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New US sanctions on Russian officials, companies

By Julie Pace
Apr. 28, 2014 9:44 AM EDT

Philippines US Obama

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - The United States levied new sanctions Monday on seven Russian government officials, as well as 17 companies with links to Vladimir Putin's close associates, as the Obama administration seeks to pressure the Russian leader to deescalate the crisis in Ukraine.

The new penalties were a response to what U.S. officials say is Russia's failure to live up to commitments it agreed to under an international accord aimed at ending the dispute. The White House says Russia's involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine is indisputable and warned that the U.S. and its partners were prepared to impose deeper penalties if Russia's provocations continue.

President Barack Obama announced the sanctions while traveling in the Philippines, the last stop on a weeklong trip to Asia. He said that while his goal was not to target Putin personally, he was seeking to "change his calculus with respect to how the current actions that he's engaging in could have an adverse impact on the Russian economy over the long haul."

The U.S. sanctions were followed closely by new penalties from the European Union. Diplomats said the 28-nation EU decided to add 15 more officials to its Russia sanctions list.

Three diplomats separately confirmed to The Associated Press ambassadors of the EU's 28 nations on Monday signed off to broadening the bloc's travel ban and asset freeze sanctions. The decision still requires formal approval from the EU's national governments but officials said that was a mere rubberstamp procedure expected to be completed within the coming hours.

The names of the individuals targeted weren't immediately released pending the official publication in the bloc's legal journal early Tuesday.

The Washington sanctions were expanded to include seven Russian government officials and 17 companies with links to President Vladimir Putin.

Among the targets of the new sanctions is Igor Sechin, the president of state oil company Rosneft, who has worked for Putin since the early 1990s. Sechin was seen as the mastermind behind the 2003 legal assault on private oil company Yukos and its founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who at the time was Russia's richest man. The most lucrative parts of Yukos were taken over by Rosneft, making it Russia's largest company. Rosneft has a major partnership deal with ExxonMobil.

In addition to the new sanctions, the U.S. is adding new restrictions on high-tech materials used by Russia's defense industry that could help bolster Moscow's military.

Even with the new measures, Obama voiced pessimism about whether they would be enough to change Putin's calculus.

"We don't yet know whether it's going to work," he said.

Also on the list of those sanctioned by the U.S. Monday are Aleksei Pushkov, the Kremlin-connected head of Russian parliament's lower house, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, and Sergei Chemezov, another longtime Putin ally. The White House said Putin has known Chemezov, CEO of the state-owned holding company Rostec, since the 1980s, when they both lived in the same apartment building in East Germany.

The company-specific sanctions will affect entities like Transoil, a freight rail operator, and other infrastructure companies involved in electrical and gas pipeline construction. The U.S. also sanctioned two entities it alleges are owned or controlled by Bank Rossiya, which is owned by members of Putin's inner circle.

Neither the U.S. nor Europe plans to announce broader sanctions on Russia's key industries this week, though Obama said they were keeping those measures "in reserve" in case the situation worsens and Russia launches a full military incursion into eastern Ukraine. Among the targets of those so-called sector sanctions could be Russia's banking, defense and energy industries.

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kitharris1 April 28 2014 at 12:32 PM

right now we need jobs here in the united states. harry and obama need to look at some of the bills sent over from the house and see if they can pass a couple of those. also they could pass the keystone pipeline. our government looks more like the keystone cops on passing that action that could help our energy situation.

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1 reply
rschli7137 kitharris1 April 28 2014 at 12:47 PM

LOL! Every bill starts the same way. #1. Repeal Obamacare." #2. Lower taxes on the wealthy. Get real. What about The Am. Jobs Act that the CBO said would create up to 2 million jobs? KPL? A handfull of temporary jobs and even less permanent jobs for what? We get NONE of the oil and assume all the risk. You need to stop watching Fox Snooze and get an education.

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a392bb April 28 2014 at 11:44 AM

OOO Every body is shaken in there boots Obama do us a favor and resign

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1 reply
ramonbatt a392bb April 28 2014 at 11:53 AM

Agree. He has no clue? He calls failure to live up commitment? I am laughing my head off. I guess failure do not apply to Obama!

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Gerrie April 28 2014 at 11:44 AM

our President is doing what he can for now....however Europe doesn't want to impose serious sanctions not much United States can do other than war?

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2 replies
ramonbatt Gerrie April 28 2014 at 11:53 AM

Obama is a failure.

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Humberto Gerrie April 28 2014 at 12:04 PM

No, he is afraid of Russia, at least Europe has motive, Russia can retaliate with the delivery of gas, and all Europe economy is going to crash, but Russia depends in USA for food (grains), then a solution was simple enough, put troops in the frontier between Russia and Ukraine. that is really a limit that Russia will think twice to cross, This sanctions are ridicule, and only show how the president think that we are so dumb that we believe that is doing what we need to do to stop Russia, not even he believe it.

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bert hall April 28 2014 at 11:44 AM


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D April 28 2014 at 11:43 AM

Put them both in a ring.
I'd like to see them knock the crap out of each other.

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1 reply
ramonbatt D April 28 2014 at 11:55 AM

My money is on Putin!

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davel202 April 28 2014 at 5:24 PM

The most significant thing Obama said, "We don't yet know whether it's going to work,"
He doesn't have a clue what to do.

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Edward April 28 2014 at 9:30 PM

You are so phony!!! Easpecially that smile of yours. GO AWAY, RESIGN, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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jcollina April 28 2014 at 1:16 PM

This is a start that may work. But, NATO nations need to beef up their military power while waiting to see whether or not sanctions alone will work. They did not work in Cuba. They did not work against Japan prior to WWII. And, we still cannot be sure the sanctions vs. Iran are really working. Israel claims they are not. We are like the wife with a cheating husband - the last one to learn the truth.

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rcalley1 April 28 2014 at 10:56 PM

Obama your words and threats are useless, you have no power, you have no say. Its a shame you have not yet resigned. You deserve to resign more than Nixon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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1 reply
jlflores0125 rcalley1 April 29 2014 at 12:56 AM

why don'tyou try running for president?...... oh wait you probably didn't even finish HS, just saying

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YourFtr April 28 2014 at 1:17 PM

Since the middle east peace talks have collapsed.....
Kerry doesn't have to worry about them any more......
so he ought to be able to devote more time to the Ukraine, Iran, North Korea, etc.......
until those talks collapse also.....!!!???

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2 replies
calderasf YourFtr April 28 2014 at 1:26 PM

NK really when have talks ever succeeded there he's nuts, Iran is ending it's program a success for the world,

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1 reply
Ol Bob calderasf April 28 2014 at 1:43 PM

Iran ending its program? Hope you got a legal deed when you bought the Brooklyn bridge.

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stevenjonessales YourFtr April 28 2014 at 1:30 PM

Middle East talks collapse? Really? I would file it under SSDD.

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