The United States on Monday imposed new economic sanctions on seven Russian officials and 17 companies with ties to President Vladimir Putin, further escalating the already tense standoff between the White House and the Kremlin.
“[T]he Department of Commerce has imposed additional restrictions on 13 ... companies by imposing a license requirement with a presumption of denial for the export, re-export or other foreign transfer of U.S.-origin items to the companies,” the White House announced in a statement.
“Further, today the Departments of Commerce and State have announced a tightened policy to deny export license applications for any high-technology items that could contribute to Russia’s military capabilities,” the statement added. “Those Departments also will revoke any existing export licenses that meet these conditions.”
The new sanctions were executed in coordination with the European Union, which has already moved to impose visa bans and freeze the assets of at least 15 Russians thought to be involved directly in causing unrest in Ukraine.
The EU and the U.S. said the new sanctions are in response to Russia’s failure to live up to its end of an earlier international accord aimed at resolving the dispute in Ukraine. The White House added that Russia’s involvement in stirring violence in Ukraine is “indisputable” and warned that continued involvement in the crisis would lead to additional sanctions.
“Russia has done nothing to meet its Geneva commitments and in fact has further escalated the crisis. Russia’s involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine is indisputable,” the White House said. “The United States made clear it would impose additional costs on Russia if it failed live up to its Geneva commitments and take concrete steps to deescalate the situation in Ukraine.”
President Barack Obama, addressing the sanctions Monday from the Philippines, said they’re not aimed directly at Putin, but are intended 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," according to the Associated Press,
Though stricter than past sanctions, Obama said it’s unclear whether the new round will indeed change Putin’s “calculus.”
"We don't yet know whether it's going to work," he said.
Russian officials targeted in Monday’s round of sanctions include Igor Sechin, former Putin colleague and president of state oil company Rosneft; Aleksei Pushkov, the head of Russian parliament's lower house; Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry; Kozak and longtime Putin ally Sergei Chemezov.
None of the 17 companies targeted Monday are publicly owned and three businessmen linked to Putin — Gennady Timchenko and Boris and Arkady Rotenberg — control the majority of them.
“The international community has been unified in its position that Russia must cease its illegal intervention and provocative actions in Ukraine,” the White House said. “The United States, working closely with its partners, remains prepared to impose still greater costs on Russia if the Russian leadership continues these provocations instead of de-escalating the situation, consistent with its Geneva commitments.”
The White House reportedly decided on the sanctions last week, but held off imposing them so that it could coordinate with the European Union.
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