SEOUL – President Obama and four European leaders agreed on a conference call Saturday to impose new sanctions on sectors of the Russian economy, the White House said.
Washington will announce its chosen sanctions and Europe, which has significant commercial relations with Moscow, will prepare its own distinct sanctions, which could begin as early as Monday when global banks open for business.
In a joint statement, leaders of the G7 agreed to impose the new penalties to “increase the costs of Russia’s actions” in Ukraine.
“Given the urgency of securing the opportunity for a successful and peaceful democratic vote next month in Ukraine’s presidential elections, we have committed to act urgently to intensify targeted sanctions and measures to increase the costs of Russia’s actions,” the statement said.
The new round of sanctions will be “coordinated and complementary” but not necessarily identical to the first round levied, U.S. senior administration officials said.
While the U.S. has talked for weeks about targeting entire sectors of Russian industry from banking to energy, these sanctions will not be a sledgehammer on the Russian economy. Instead, the U.S. will slap restrictions on more people and businesses around President Vladimir Putin.
President Obama said Friday that sanctions might not change Putin’s behavior, but he said the allies should not make it easy for him to encroach even more on Ukraine.
“The violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity in Ukraine is a principle that the U.S. has to stand up to,” Obama said.