The United States and the EU announced on Tuesday a coordinated effort to impose economic sanctions on critical sectors of Russia’s economy including their ability to use western based technology to develop new oil resources, a vital source of future revenue for the oil export nation.
The new sanctions are aimed at hurting Russia’s energy, arms, and financial sectors in response to Russia’s military support of separatists battling Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine, a claim that Moscow repeatedly denies but western intelligence can prove through satellite imagery.
The EU will also be eliminating certain financing to state-owned banks in Russia as well as prohibit new arms imports and exports.
The downing of Malaysian Airlines flight in separatist held territory in Ukraine on July 17th accelerated the resolve of EU countries to punish Russia and send a stronger statement to Russian President Vladimir Putin after Russia annexed Crimea in March and is widely believed to be fomenting division in eastern Ukraine after the country ousted a pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych when he refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union on November 21, 2013 and attempted to forge stronger ties with Moscow.
President Obama spoke to reporters on Tuesday from the South Lawn in Washington D.C. and said that Russia is isolating itself from the international community and could instead “join the world” in a diplomatic solution to the situation in Ukraine.
“I’m going to continue to engage President Putin as well as President Poroshenko and our European partners in pursuit of such a diplomatic solution” Obama admitted.
However, in closing remarks, Obama made it clear that the path for a peaceful resolution to the Ukrainian crisis involves “recognizing the sovereignty, the territorial integrity, and the independence of the Ukrainian people.”