Transcript for Maker of AK-47 Among Those Targeted by New Obama Sanctions on Russia
This is an ABC news. George Stephanopoulos. Good afternoon were coming on the air right now because President Obama is about to speak in the White House briefing room about the situation in Russia and Ukraine. Just about an hour ago the White House announced that it was escalating sanctions against Russia in response to a steady buildup of troops and military equipment on the board of Ukraine. Ten to 121000 troops in the last week. The sanctions target Russian banks energy and defense firm some of the most powerful in that country. -- Jon -- in the brief -- and John the president also expected to address the violence in Israel and Gaza. That's right George on the Russian sanctions the president will talk about these being designed. To hit the Russian economy where it hurts to of the largest Russian -- company's two of the most significant Russian banks also the -- sector. And also a threat to there'll be more sanctions to come of Russia continues. Destabilizing Ukraine. But the president also met for thirty minutes today it was secretary of state John Kerry big on the agenda there of course was the escalating violence between Israel and Hamas. The United States this administration has talked about the need for a cease fire there has been quite critical of Hamas for not going along the cease fire proposed by Egypt. But they've also called for restraint on the part of the the Israelis and -- concern about civilian casualties in Gaza so expect all of that will be on the agenda with the president here shortly. And the United Nations has called for another humanitarian ceasefire -- about five hours tomorrow the Israelis have accepted that so far no word. From Hamas of course the -- -- been going on there for about nine days now. Rocket fire and airstrikes. By Israel 200 civilians killed but the main topic for the president today the sanctions against -- the real concern. That Russia is destabilizing. Ukraine that the violence on that border could escalate. And that they believe that the Russians have been funding and sending militants into -- the eastern part. -- Ukraine of course the Russians and forces allied with Russia have already taken over Crimea. Here's the president now good afternoon everybody. -- briefly discuss. Important actions were taken today in support of Ukraine. Before doom or take if you messed up drickamer you're -- pressing foreign policy challenges that -- -- -- -- period this afternoon. First of all I thanked the Senator Kerry and our outstanding civilian and military leaders in Afghanistan. For -- success in helping to break the impasse over the presidential election there. Thanks -- their efforts and of course. Thanks to the Afghans and purge of the two candidates both of whom I spoke to last week. The candidates have agreed to abide by the results of a comprehensive and internationally supervised. Audit that will review all the ballots. And to form a unity government. If they keep their commitments. Afghanistan will witness the first democratic transfer of power in the history of that nation. Progress -- are both candidates who have put the interests of the united Afghanistan first. The millions of Afghans who defied threats in order -- and the service of our troops and civilians who sacrificed. So much. This progress reminds us that even as our combat mission in Afghanistan -- this year. America's commitment to a sovereign united and democratic Afghanistan will -- Along with our determination that Americans are never -- threatened by terrorists. It's inside of Afghanistan. Second the John updated me on the negotiations -- Iran over its nuclear program. Over the last six months Iran has met its commitments under the interim deal we reached last year. Halting the progress of its nuclear program. Allowing more inspections and rolling back its most dangerous stockpile of nuclear amateur. Meanwhile we are working with -- RP five plus one partners and Iran to reach a comprehensive agreement that assures us that. Iran's program will in fact be peaceful. And that they won't obtain a nuclear weapon. Based on consultations with sector carry in my national security team it's clear to me -- we've made real progress in several areas and that we have a credible way forward. But as we approach a deadline of July 20 under the interim deal there are still. Some significant gaps between the international community and Iran and we have more work to do. It's over the next few days will continue consulting with congress and our team will continue discussions with Iran and our partners. As we determine whether additional time is necessary to extend. -- negotiations. -- We continue to support diplomatic efforts to end the violence between Israel and Hamas. As upset repeatedly. Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks that terrorized the Israeli people. There's no country on earth the can be expected to live under a daily barrage. Of rockets. And I'm proud of that the iron storm system that Americans helped Israel develop and fund has saved many Israeli lives. But over past two weeks we've all been heartbroken by the violence. Especially the death and injury of so many an innocent civilians in Gaza. Men women and children were caught in the crossfire. That's why we have been working with our partners in the region to pursue a cease -- to protect civilians on both sides. Yesterday Israel did agree to a cease fire unfortunately Hamas continued to fire rockets at civilians. Thereby prolonging the conflict. But the Israeli people and the Palestinian people don't want to live like this. They deserve to live in peace and security free from fear. That's why we're gonna continue to encourage diplomatic efforts to restore the cease fire and we support. Egypt's continued efforts to bring this about. Over the next 44 -- will continue to stay in close contact with our friends -- parties in the region. And we will use all of our diplomatic resources and relationships to support efforts. Of closing a deal on a cease fire. In the meantime wanted to continue to stress the need to protect civilians in Gaza and in Israel and to avoid further escalation. Finally. Given its continued provocations in Ukraine. Today I have approved a new set of sanctions on some Russia's largest companies and financial institutions. Along with our allies with whom -- been coordinated closely the last several days and weeks. -- repeatedly made it clear that Russia must halt the flow of weapons and fighters across the border into Ukraine. That Russia must first separate -- to release their hostages and support a cease fire. That Russia needs to pursue internationally mediated talks. And agree to meaningful monitors on the border. I've made this clear directly to mr. -- Many of our European partners have made this clear directly to mr. -- We have emphasized our preference to resolve this issue diplomatically. But that we have to see concrete actions and not just words. That Russia in fact is committed to try to end. This conflict along the Russia Ukraine border. So far Russia has failed to take any of the steps that I mention. It. In fact Russia's support for the separate -- and violations of Ukraine's sovereignty has continued. On top of the sanctions -- party opposed were -- for designating selected sectors of the Russian economy as eligible for sanctions. We're freezing the assets of several Russia defense companies. And we are blocking new financing of some of Russia's most important banks and energy companies. These sanctions are significant but they're also target designed to have. The maximum impact on Russia while limiting any spillover effects on American companies or those of our allies. We are taking these actions are close consultation -- -- European allies were meeting in Brussels to agree on their next steps. And what -- are expecting is that the Russian leadership -- -- once again. That its actions in Ukraine have consequences. Including weakening Russian economy. And increasing diplomatic isolation. Meanwhile we're gonna continue to stand with the Ukrainian people as -- seek to determine their own future. Even in the midst of this crisis they have made remarkable progress these past few months they held democratic elections they elected the president. They're pursuing important reforms and they signed -- -- association agreement with the European Union. And the United States will continue to offer our strong support to Ukraine to help stabilize its economy and defend it's territorial integrity. Because like any people -- deserve the right to forge their own best. So important health point out the obvious we live in a complex world and at a challenging time. And none of these challenges lend themselves to quick or easy solutions but all of them require American leadership and as commander in chief I'm confident that. If we stay patient and determined. That we will in fact meet these challenges. Thanks very much. President leaving the White House prefers not taking any questions from the press -- -- having appointed. Message for Russian president Vladimir prudent -- his actions in eastern Ukraine have consequences. And -- a series of sanctions. Against Russian banks defense firms and and other and these other major energy -- in Russia also present addressed some other foreign policy issues praised some progress in Afghanistan in bringing together. A new government encouraged -- escalation of hostilities between Israel and -- and seemed to signal. That he would seek to extend the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. We're gonna have returning -- regular programming right now much more tonight on world news you don't suppose anytime -- abcnews.com or on the ABC news out. On your mobile device I'm George Stephanopoulos in New York have a good day. This has been a special.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.