US & World

US, Europe impose tough new sanctions on Russia

Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting in his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, on July 29, 2014. Putin urged yesterday Russia's defence industry to swiftly cut imports as the EU looks set to impose a ban on the sale of weapons and technology over Ukraine. On Tuesday, both the EU and the United States announced a new round of sanctions.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting in his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, on July 29, 2014. Putin urged yesterday Russia's defence industry to swiftly cut imports as the EU looks set to impose a ban on the sale of weapons and technology over Ukraine. On Tuesday, both the EU and the United States announced a new round of sanctions.
MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images

Spurred to new action by the downing of the Malaysia airliner, the European Union approved dramatically tougher economic sanctions Tuesday against Russia, followed swiftly by a new round of U.S. penalties targeting key sectors of the Russian economy.

The coordinated sanctions were aimed at increasing pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his country's support for separatists in eastern Ukraine whom the West blames for taking down the passenger jet nearly two weeks ago.

"Today Russia is once again isolating itself from the international community, setting back decades of genuine progress," President Barack Obama said. "It does not have to be this way. This a choice Russia and President Putin has made."

Video: Obama addresses Russia sanctions

Europe's actions were particularly significant given that the continent has a far stronger economic relationship with Russia than the U.S. does Until this week, the EU sanctions had lagged behind the American penalties, in part because of leaders' concerns about a negative impact on their own economies.

But Europe's calculus shifted sharply after a surface-to-air missile brought down the passenger jet, killing nearly 300 people including more than 200 Europeans.

Dahlburg reported from Brussels.