President Obama announced on Monday that the United States is levying a new round of sanctions against Russia in response to their actions in Ukraine, striking against individuals and companies close Vladimir Putin.
Seven Russian government officials, including two members of President Putin's inner circle, will be subject to an asset freeze and a U.S. visa ban, and 17 companies linked to Putin's inner circle, which will be subject to an asset freeze, according to a statement by White House press secretary Jay Carney.
In addition, the Department of Commerce is imposing additional restrictions on 13 of those 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. Commerce and the State Department also announced a tightened policy to deny export license applications for any high-technology items that could contribute to Russia's military capabilities. Those Departments also will revoke any existing export licenses that meet these conditions.
"The goal here is not to go after Mr. Putin personally," Obama said in Manilla on Monday during a new conference.. "The goal is 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."
White House officials say they decided last week to impose the new sanctions after determining that Russia had not lived up to its commitments under a fragile diplomatic accord aimed at easing the crisis in Ukraine. But the U.S. held off on implementing the sanctions in order to coordinate its actions with the European Union, which could also announce new penalties as early as Monday.
The failed diplomatic accord reached in Geneva called on the Kremlin to use its influence to get pro-Russian insurgents to leave the government buildings they have occupied in eastern Ukraine. But those forces have not only balked at leaving those buildings, but have also stepped up their provocations, including capturing European military observers.
Even as he announced the new sanctions package, Obama acknowledged that "we don't yet know whether it's going to work."
Contributing: Associated Press