U.S. President Barack Obama has announced that the U.S. is once again moving to impose fresh sanctions on Russia as a consequence for its continued support of separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The new sanctions, which target the defense, energy and financial sectors of the Russian economy.
“The major sanctions we’re announcing today will continue to ratchet up the pressure on Russia,” said Obama at the White House.
“Today Russia is once again isolating itself from the international community, setting back decades of genuine progress. And it doesn’t have to come to this. It didn’t have to come to this. It does not have to be this way. This is a choice that Russia, and President [Vladimir] Putin in particular has made.”
He urged Russia to choose a different path, one of “de-escalation, the choice of joining the world in a diplomatic solution to this situation, a choice in which Russia recognizes that it can be a good neighbor and trading partner with Ukraine.”
In a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said Russia’s actions “have not shown a shred of evidence that they really have a legitimate desire to end the violence and end the bloodshed,” as they say they do.
Russia however denies giving any form of support to the separatists in eastern Ukraine and said that the country remained undeterred by the sanctions.
“I assure you, we will overcome any difficulties that may arise in certain areas of the economy, and maybe we will become more independent and more confident in our own strength,” Reuters quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as saying in Moscow.