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New US sanctions on Russian officials, companies

KDWN

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The United States imposed new sanctions Monday on seven Russian government officials, as well as 17 companies with links to Vladimir Putin’s close associates, as the Obama administration sought to pressure the Russian leader to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine.

The U.S. sanctions were implemented in coordination with the European Union, which moved to slap visa bans and asset freezes on 15 individuals alleged to be involved with stoking instability in eastern Ukraine.

The new penalties were a response to what the West says is Russia’s failure to live up to commitments it agreed to under an international accord aimed at ending the dispute. The White House says Russia’s involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine was indisputable and warned that the U.S. and its partners were prepared to impose deeper penalties if similar Russian actions continue.

President Barack Obama announced the U.S. sanctions while traveling in the Philippines, the last stop on a weeklong trip to Asia. He said his goal was not to target Putin personally but 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.”

Among the targets of the new sanctions is Igor Sechin, the president of state oil company Rosneft, who has worked for Putin since the early 1990s. Sechin was seen as the mastermind behind the 2003 legal assault on private oil company Yukos and its founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who at the time was Russia’s richest man. The most lucrative parts of Yukos were taken over by Rosneft, making it Russia’s largest company. Rosneft has a major partnership deal with ExxonMobil.

In addition to the new sanctions, the U.S. is adding new restrictions on high-tech materials used by Russia’s defense industry that could bolster Moscow’s military.

Obama has been building a case for this round of penalties throughout his trip to Asia, both in his public comments and in private conversations with European leaders. The new sanctions are intended to build on earlier U.S. and European visa bans and asset freezes that were imposed on Russian officials, including many in Putin’s inner circle, after Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last month.

But even with the new measures, Obama voiced caution: “We don’t yet know whether it’s going to work.”

The new sanctions were milder than many in Moscow had feared. They did not affect any public companies or major sectors of the economy, and the Russian RTS index jumped 1 percent on the news. Reflecting relief that state banks had not been targeted, Sberbank’s stock was up 5 percent. Shares in gas giant Gazprom rose more than 2 percent when chief executive Alexei Miller was unexpectedly left off of the list.

On the U.S. list were Alexei Pushkov, the Kremlin-connected head of the international affairs committee of the Russian Parliament’s lower house, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and Sergei Chemezov, another longtime Putin ally. The White House said Putin has known Chemezov, CEO of the state-owned holding company Rostec, since the 1980s, when they both lived in the same apartment building in East Germany.

Most of the 17 companies on the list are controlled by three businessmen with close links to Putin: Gennady Timchenko, and brothers Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, all of whom were targeted by the first round of U.S. sanctions imposed in March.

One of the companies Timchenko owns is Stroytransgaz, a construction company that has amassed millions in contracts to build oil pipelines for state-owned Transneft. The company has recently expanded and won lucrative deals to build highways and soccer arenas for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

None of the 17 is a public company.

The European Union did not immediately release a list of the individuals targeted by its measures, which were awaiting formal approval from the bloc’s national governments. U.S. officials said they did not expect the two lists to be identical.

Neither the U.S. nor Europe plans to announce broader sanctions on Russia’s key industries this week, though Obama said they were keeping those measures “in reserve” in case the situation worsens and Russia launches a full military incursion into eastern Ukraine. Among the targets of those so-called sector sanctions could be Russia’s banking, defense and energy industries.

White House officials say they decided last week to impose additional penalties 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 Europe.

The EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner, giving it much greater economic leverage over Moscow than the U.S. However, the EU treads more carefully in imposing sanctions since Russia is also one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers.

The failed diplomatic agreement reached in Geneva just over a week ago called on the Kremlin to use its influence to persuade pro-Russian insurgents to leave the government buildings they have occupied in eastern Ukraine. Those forces have not only balked at leaving the buildings, but also have also stepped up provocations, including capturing European military observers and parading them before the media Sunday.

U.S. officials said there is evidence that those observers have been abused while in custody.

Associated Press writers Josh Lederman in Washington and Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.

Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

New US sanctions on Russian officials, companies

KDWN

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The United States imposed new sanctions Monday on seven Russian government officials, as well as 17 companies with links to Vladimir Putin’s close associates, as the Obama administration sought to pressure the Russian leader to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine.

The U.S. sanctions were implemented in coordination with the European Union, which moved to slap visa bans and asset freezes on 15 individuals alleged to be involved with stoking instability in eastern Ukraine.

The new penalties were a response to what the West says is Russia’s failure to live up to commitments it agreed to under an international accord aimed at ending the dispute. The White House says Russia’s involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine was indisputable and warned that the U.S. and its partners were prepared to impose deeper penalties if similar Russian actions continue.

President Barack Obama announced the U.S. sanctions while traveling in the Philippines, the last stop on a weeklong trip to Asia. He said his goal was not to target Putin personally but 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.”

Among the targets of the new sanctions is Igor Sechin, the president of state oil company Rosneft, who has worked for Putin since the early 1990s. Sechin was seen as the mastermind behind the 2003 legal assault on private oil company Yukos and its founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who at the time was Russia’s richest man. The most lucrative parts of Yukos were taken over by Rosneft, making it Russia’s largest company. Rosneft has a major partnership deal with ExxonMobil.

In addition to the new sanctions, the U.S. is adding new restrictions on high-tech materials used by Russia’s defense industry that could bolster Moscow’s military.

Obama has been building a case for this round of penalties throughout his trip to Asia, both in his public comments and in private conversations with European leaders. The new sanctions are intended to build on earlier U.S. and European visa bans and asset freezes that were imposed on Russian officials, including many in Putin’s inner circle, after Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last month.

But even with the new measures, Obama voiced caution: “We don’t yet know whether it’s going to work.”

The new sanctions were milder than many in Moscow had feared. They did not affect any public companies or major sectors of the economy, and the Russian RTS index jumped 1 percent on the news. Reflecting relief that state banks had not been targeted, Sberbank’s stock was up 5 percent. Shares in gas giant Gazprom rose more than 2 percent when chief executive Alexei Miller was unexpectedly left off of the list.

On the U.S. list were Aleksei Pushkov, the Kremlin-connected head of the Russian parliament’s lower house, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and Sergei Chemezov, another longtime Putin ally. The White House said Putin has known Chemezov, CEO of the state-owned holding company Rostec, since the 1980s, when they both lived in the same apartment building in East Germany.

Most of the 17 companies on the list are controlled by three businessmen with close links to Putin: Gennady Timchenko, and brothers Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, all of whom were targeted by the first round of U.S. sanctions imposed in March.

One of the companies Timchenko owns is Stroytransgaz, a construction company that has amassed millions in contracts to build oil pipelines for state-owned Transneft. The company has recently expanded and won lucrative deals to build highways and soccer arenas for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

None of the 17 is a public company.

The European Union did not immediately release a list of the individuals targeted by its measures, which were awaiting formal approval from the bloc’s national governments. U.S. officials said they did not expect the two lists to be identical.

Neither the U.S. nor Europe plans to announce broader sanctions on Russia’s key industries this week, though Obama said they were keeping those measures “in reserve” in case the situation worsens and Russia launches a full military incursion into eastern Ukraine. Among the targets of those so-called sector sanctions could be Russia’s banking, defense and energy industries.

White House officials say they decided last week to impose additional penalties 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 Europe.

The EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner, giving it much greater economic leverage over Moscow than the U.S. However, the EU treads more carefully in imposing sanctions since Russia is also one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers.

The failed diplomatic agreement reached in Geneva just over a week ago called on the Kremlin to use its influence to persuade pro-Russian insurgents to leave the government buildings they have occupied in eastern Ukraine. Those forces have not only balked at leaving the buildings, but also have also stepped up provocations, including capturing European military observers and parading them before the media Sunday.

U.S. officials said there is evidence that those observers have been abused while in custody.

Associated Press writers Josh Lederman in Washington and Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.

Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

New US sanctions on Russian officials, companies

KDWN

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The United States imposed new sanctions Monday on seven Russian government officials, as well as 17 companies with links to Vladimir Putin’s close associates, as the Obama administration sought to pressure the Russian leader to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine.

The U.S. sanctions were implemented in coordination with the European Union, which moved to slap visa bans and asset freezes on 15 individuals alleged to be involved with stoking instability in eastern Ukraine.

The new penalties were a response to what the West says is Russia’s failure to live up to commitments it agreed to under an international accord aimed at ending the dispute. The White House says Russia’s involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine was indisputable and warned that the U.S. and its partners were prepared to impose deeper penalties if similar Russian actions continue.

President Barack Obama announced the U.S. sanctions while traveling in the Philippines, the last stop on a weeklong trip to Asia. He said his goal was not to target Putin personally but 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.”

Among the targets of the new sanctions is Igor Sechin, the president of state oil company Rosneft, who has worked for Putin since the early 1990s. Sechin was seen as the mastermind behind the 2003 legal assault on private oil company Yukos and its founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who at the time was Russia’s richest man. The most lucrative parts of Yukos were taken over by Rosneft, making it Russia’s largest company. Rosneft has a major partnership deal with ExxonMobil.

In addition to the new sanctions, the U.S. is adding new restrictions on high-tech materials used by Russia’s defense industry that could bolster Moscow’s military.

Obama has been building a case for this round of penalties throughout his trip to Asia, both in his public comments and in private conversations with European leaders. The new sanctions are intended to build on earlier U.S. and European visa bans and asset freezes that were imposed on Russian officials, including many in Putin’s inner circle, after Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last month.

But even with the new measures, Obama voiced caution: “We don’t yet know whether it’s going to work.”

The new sanctions were milder than many in Moscow had feared. They did not affect any public companies or major sectors of the economy, and the Russian RTS index jumped 1 percent on the news. Reflecting relief that state banks had not been targeted, Sberbank’s stock was up 5 percent. Shares in gas giant Gazprom rose more than 2 percent when chief executive Alexei Miller was unexpectedly left off of the list.

On the U.S. list were Aleksei Pushkov, the Kremlin-connected head of the Russian parliament’s lower house, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and Sergei Chemezov, another longtime Putin ally. The White House said Putin has known Chemezov, CEO of the state-owned holding company Rostec, since the 1980s, when they both lived in the same apartment building in East Germany.

Most of the 17 companies on the list are controlled by three businessmen with close links to Putin: Gennady Timchenko, and brothers Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, all of whom were targeted by the first round of U.S. sanctions imposed in March.

One of the companies Timchenko owns is Stroytransgaz, a construction company that has amassed millions in contracts to build oil pipelines for state-owned Transneft. The company has recently expanded and won lucrative deals to build highways and soccer arenas for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

None of the 17 is a public company.

The European Union did not immediately release a list of the individuals targeted by its measures, which were awaiting formal approval from the bloc’s national governments. U.S. officials said they did not expect the two lists to be identical.

Neither the U.S. nor Europe plans to announce broader sanctions on Russia’s key industries this week, though Obama said they were keeping those measures “in reserve” in case the situation worsens and Russia launches a full military incursion into eastern Ukraine. Among the targets of those so-called sector sanctions could be Russia’s banking, defense and energy industries.

White House officials say they decided last week to impose additional penalties 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 Europe.

The EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner, giving it much greater economic leverage over Moscow than the U.S. However, the EU treads more carefully in imposing sanctions since Russia is also one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers.

The failed diplomatic agreement reached in Geneva just over a week ago called on the Kremlin to use its influence to persuade pro-Russian insurgents to leave the government buildings they have occupied in eastern Ukraine. Those forces have not only balked at leaving the buildings, but also have also stepped up provocations, including capturing European military observers and parading them before the media Sunday.

U.S. officials said there is evidence that those observers have been abused while in custody.

Associated Press writers Josh Lederman in Washington and Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.

Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

New US sanctions on Russian officials, companies

KDWN

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The United States imposed new sanctions Monday on seven Russian government officials, as well as 17 companies with links to Vladimir Putin’s close associates, as the Obama administration sought to pressure the Russian leader to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine.

The U.S. sanctions were implemented in coordination with the European Union, which moved to slap visa bans and asset freezes on 15 individuals alleged to be involved with stoking instability in eastern Ukraine.

The new penalties were a response to what the West says is Russia’s failure to live up to commitments it agreed to under an international accord aimed at ending the dispute. The White House says Russia’s involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine was indisputable and warned that the U.S. and its partners were prepared to impose deeper penalties if similar Russian actions continue.

President Barack Obama announced the U.S. sanctions while traveling in the Philippines, the last stop on a weeklong trip to Asia. He said his goal was not to target Putin personally but 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.”

Among the targets of the new sanctions is Igor Sechin, the president of state oil company Rosneft, who has worked for Putin since the early 1990s. Sechin was seen as the mastermind behind the 2003 legal assault on private oil company Yukos and its founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who at the time was Russia’s richest man. The most lucrative parts of Yukos were taken over by Rosneft, making it Russia’s largest company. Rosneft has a major partnership deal with ExxonMobil.

In addition to the new sanctions, the U.S. is adding new restrictions on high-tech materials used by Russia’s defense industry that could bolster Moscow’s military.

Obama has been building a case for this round of penalties throughout his trip to Asia, both in his public comments and in private conversations with European leaders. The new sanctions are intended to build on earlier U.S. and European visa bans and asset freezes that were imposed on Russian officials, including many in Putin’s inner circle, after Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last month.

But even with the new measures, Obama voiced caution: “We don’t yet know whether it’s going to work.”

The new sanctions were milder than many in Moscow had feared. They did not affect any public companies or major sectors of the economy, and the Russian RTS index jumped 1 percent on the news. Reflecting relief that state banks had not been targeted, Sberbank’s stock was up 5 percent. Shares in gas giant Gazprom rose more than 2 percent when chief executive Alexei Miller was unexpectedly left off of the list.

On the U.S. list were Aleksei Pushkov, the Kremlin-connected head of the Russian parliament’s lower house, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and Sergei Chemezov, another longtime Putin ally. The White House said Putin has known Chemezov, CEO of the state-owned holding company Rostec, since the 1980s, when they both lived in the same apartment building in East Germany.

Most of the 17 companies on the list are controlled by three businessmen with close links to Putin: Gennady Timchenko, and brothers Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, all of whom were targeted by the first round of U.S. sanctions imposed in March.

One of the companies Timchenko owns is Stroytransgaz, a construction company that has amassed millions in contracts to build oil pipelines for state-owned Transneft. The company has recently expanded and won lucrative deals to build highways and soccer arenas for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

None of the 17 is a public company.

The European Union did not immediately release a list of the individuals targeted by its measures, which were awaiting formal approval from the bloc’s national governments. U.S. officials said they did not expect the two lists to be identical.

Neither the U.S. nor Europe plans to announce broader sanctions on Russia’s key industries this week, though Obama said they were keeping those measures “in reserve” in case the situation worsens and Russia launches a full military incursion into eastern Ukraine. Among the targets of those so-called sector sanctions could be Russia’s banking, defense and energy industries.

White House officials say they decided last week to impose additional penalties 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 Europe.

The EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner, giving it much greater economic leverage over Moscow than the U.S. However, the EU treads more carefully in imposing sanctions since Russia is also one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers.

The failed diplomatic agreement reached in Geneva just over a week ago called on the Kremlin to use its influence to persuade pro-Russian insurgents to leave the government buildings they have occupied in eastern Ukraine. Those forces have not only balked at leaving the buildings, but also have also stepped up provocations, including capturing European military observers and parading them before the media Sunday.

U.S. officials said there is evidence that those observers have been abused while in custody.

Associated Press writers Josh Lederman in Washington and Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.

Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

New US sanctions on Russian officials, companies

KDWN

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The United States imposed new sanctions Monday on seven Russian government officials, as well as 17 companies with links to Vladimir Putin’s close associates, as the Obama administration sought to pressure the Russian leader to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine.

The U.S. sanctions were implemented in coordination with the European Union, which moved to slap visa bans and asset freezes on 15 individuals alleged to be involved with stoking instability in eastern Ukraine.

The new penalties were a response to what the West says is Russia’s failure to live up to commitments it agreed to under an international accord aimed at ending the dispute. The White House says Russia’s involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine was indisputable and warned that the U.S. and its partners were prepared to impose deeper penalties if similar Russian actions continue.

President Barack Obama announced the U.S. sanctions while traveling in the Philippines, the last stop on a weeklong trip to Asia. He said his goal was not to target Putin personally but 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.”

Among the targets of the new sanctions is Igor Sechin, the president of state oil company Rosneft, who has worked for Putin since the early 1990s. Sechin was seen as the mastermind behind the 2003 legal assault on private oil company Yukos and its founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who at the time was Russia’s richest man. The most lucrative parts of Yukos were taken over by Rosneft, making it Russia’s largest company. Rosneft has a major partnership deal with ExxonMobil.

In addition to the new sanctions, the U.S. is adding new restrictions on high-tech materials used by Russia’s defense industry that could bolster Moscow’s military.

Obama has been building a case for this round of penalties throughout his trip to Asia, both in his public comments and in private conversations with European leaders. The new sanctions are intended to build on earlier U.S. and European visa bans and asset freezes that were imposed on Russian officials, including many in Putin’s inner circle, after Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last month.

But even with the new measures, Obama voiced caution: “We don’t yet know whether it’s going to work.”

The new sanctions were milder than many in Moscow had feared. They did not affect any public companies or major sectors of the economy, and the Russian RTS index jumped 1 percent on the news. Reflecting relief that state banks had not been targeted, Sberbank’s stock was up 5 percent. Shares in gas giant Gazprom rose more than 2 percent when chief executive Alexei Miller was unexpectedly left off of the list.

On the U.S. list were Aleksei Pushkov, the Kremlin-connected head of the Russian parliament’s lower house, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and Sergei Chemezov, another longtime Putin ally. The White House said Putin has known Chemezov, CEO of the state-owned holding company Rostec, since the 1980s, when they both lived in the same apartment building in East Germany.

Most of the 17 companies on the list are controlled by three businessmen with close links to Putin: Gennady Timchenko, and brothers Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, all of whom were targeted by the first round of U.S. sanctions imposed in March.

One of the companies Timchenko owns is Stroytransgaz, a construction company that has amassed millions in contracts to build oil pipelines for state-owned Transneft. The company has recently expanded and won lucrative deals to build highways and soccer arenas for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

None of the 17 is a public company.

The European Union did not immediately release a list of the individuals targeted by its measures, which were awaiting formal approval from the bloc’s national governments. U.S. officials said they did not expect the two lists to be identical.

Neither the U.S. nor Europe plans to announce broader sanctions on Russia’s key industries this week, though Obama said they were keeping those measures “in reserve” in case the situation worsens and Russia launches a full military incursion into eastern Ukraine. Among the targets of those so-called sector sanctions could be Russia’s banking, defense and energy industries.

White House officials say they decided last week to impose additional penalties 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 Europe.

The EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner, giving it much greater economic leverage over Moscow than the U.S. However, the EU treads more carefully in imposing sanctions since Russia is also one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers.

The failed diplomatic agreement reached in Geneva just over a week ago called on the Kremlin to use its influence to persuade pro-Russian insurgents to leave the government buildings they have occupied in eastern Ukraine. Those forces have not only balked at leaving the buildings, but also have also stepped up provocations, including capturing European military observers and parading them before the media Sunday.

U.S. officials said there is evidence that those observers have been abused while in custody.

Associated Press writers Josh Lederman in Washington and Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.

Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

New US sanctions on Russian officials, companies

KDWN

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The United States levied new sanctions Monday on seven Russian government officials, as well as 17 companies with links to Vladimir Putin’s close associates, as the Obama administration seeks to pressure the Russian leader to deescalate the crisis in Ukraine.

The U.S. sanctions were implemented in coordination with the European Union, which moved to slap visa bans and asset freezes on 15 individuals alleged to be involved with stoking instability in eastern Ukraine.

The new penalties were a response to what the West says is Russia’s failure to live up to commitments it agreed to under an international accord aimed at ending the dispute. The White House says Russia’s involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine is indisputable and warned that the U.S. and its partners were prepared to impose deeper penalties if Russia’s provocations continue.

President Barack Obama announced the U.S. sanctions while traveling in the Philippines, the last stop on a weeklong trip to Asia. He said that while his goal was not to target Putin personally, he was seeking 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.”

Among the targets of the new sanctions is Igor Sechin, the president of state oil company Rosneft, who has worked for Putin since the early 1990s. Sechin was seen as the mastermind behind the 2003 legal assault on private oil company Yukos and its founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who at the time was Russia’s richest man. The most lucrative parts of Yukos were taken over by Rosneft, making it Russia’s largest company. Rosneft has a major partnership deal with ExxonMobil.

In addition to the new sanctions, the U.S. is adding new restrictions on high-tech materials used by Russia’s defense industry that could help bolster Moscow’s military.

Obama has been building a case for this round of penalties throughout his trip to Asia, both in his public comments and in private conversations with European leaders. The new sanctions are intended to build on earlier U.S. and European visa bans and asset freezes imposed on Russian officials, including many in Putin’s inner circle, after Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last month.

But even with the new measures, Obama voiced pessimism about whether they would be enough to change Putin’s calculus.

“We don’t yet know whether it’s going to work,” he said.

Also on the list of those sanctioned by the U.S. Monday are Aleksei Pushkov, the Kremlin-connected head of Russian parliament’s lower house, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, and Sergei Chemezov, another longtime Putin ally. The White House said Putin has known Chemezov, CEO of the state-owned holding company Rostec, since the 1980s, when they both lived in the same apartment building in East Germany.

Most of the 17 companies on the list are controlled by three businessmen with close links to Putin: Gennady Timchenko, and brothers Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, all of whom were targeted by the first round of U.S. sanctions imposed in March.

One of the companies Timchenko owns is Stroytransgaz, a construction company that has amassed millions in contracts to build oil pipelines for state-owned Transneft. The company has recently expanded and won lucrative deals to build highways and soccer arenas for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

None of the 17 are public companies.

The European Union did not immediately release a list of the individuals targeted by its measures, which were awaiting formal approval from the bloc’s national governments. U.S. officials said they did not expect the two lists to be identical.

Neither the U.S. nor Europe plans to announce broader sanctions on Russia’s key industries this week, though Obama said they were keeping those measures “in reserve” in case the situation worsens and Russia launches a full military incursion into eastern Ukraine. Among the targets of those so-called sector sanctions could be Russia’s banking, defense and energy industries.

White House officials say they decided last week to impose additional penalties 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 Europe.

The EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner, giving it much greater economic leverage over Moscow than the U.S.. However, the EU treads more carefully in imposing sanctions since Russia is also one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers.

The failed diplomatic agreement reached in Geneva just over a week ago called on the Kremlin to use its influence to persuade pro-Russian insurgents to leave the government buildings they have occupied in eastern Ukraine. Those forces have not only balked at leaving those buildings, but also have also stepped up their provocations, including by capturing European military observers and parading them before the media Sunday.

U.S. officials said there is evidence that those observers have been abused while in custody.

Associated Press writers Josh Lederman in Washington and Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.

Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

New US sanctions on Russian officials, companies

KDWN

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The United States levied new sanctions Monday on seven Russian government officials, as well as 17 companies with links to Vladimir Putin’s close associates, as the Obama administration seeks to pressure the Russian leader to deescalate the crisis in Ukraine.

The U.S. sanctions were implemented in coordination with the European Union, which moved to slap visa bans and asset freezes on 15 individuals alleged to be involved with stoking instability in eastern Ukraine.

The new penalties were a response to what the West says is Russia’s failure to live up to commitments it agreed to under an international accord aimed at ending the dispute. The White House says Russia’s involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine is indisputable and warned that the U.S. and its partners were prepared to impose deeper penalties if Russia’s provocations continue.

President Barack Obama announced the U.S. sanctions while traveling in the Philippines, the last stop on a weeklong trip to Asia. He said that while his goal was not to target Putin personally, he was seeking 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.”

Among the targets of the new sanctions is Igor Sechin, the president of state oil company Rosneft, who has worked for Putin since the early 1990s. Sechin was seen as the mastermind behind the 2003 legal assault on private oil company Yukos and its founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who at the time was Russia’s richest man. The most lucrative parts of Yukos were taken over by Rosneft, making it Russia’s largest company. Rosneft has a major partnership deal with ExxonMobil.

In addition to the new sanctions, the U.S. is adding new restrictions on high-tech materials used by Russia’s defense industry that could help bolster Moscow’s military.

Obama has been building a case for this round of penalties throughout his trip to Asia, both in his public comments and in private conversations with European leaders. The new sanctions are intended to build on earlier U.S. and European visa bans and asset freezes imposed on Russian officials, including many in Putin’s inner circle, after Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last month.

But even with the new measures, Obama voiced pessimism about whether they would be enough to change Putin’s calculus.

“We don’t yet know whether it’s going to work,” he said.

Also on the list of those sanctioned by the U.S. Monday are Aleksei Pushkov, the Kremlin-connected head of Russian parliament’s lower house, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, and Sergei Chemezov, another longtime Putin ally. The White House said Putin has known Chemezov, CEO of the state-owned holding company Rostec, since the 1980s, when they both lived in the same apartment building in East Germany.

Most of the 17 companies on the list are controlled by three businessmen with close links to Putin: Gennady Timchenko, and brothers Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, all of whom were targeted by the first round of U.S. sanctions imposed in March.

One of the companies Timchenko owns is Stroytransgaz, a construction company that has amassed millions in contracts to build oil pipelines for state-owned Transneft. The company has recently expanded and won lucrative deals to build highways and soccer arenas for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

None of the 17 are public companies.

The European Union did not immediately release a list of the individuals targeted by its measures, which were awaiting formal approval from the bloc’s national governments. U.S. officials said they did not expect the two lists to be identical.

Neither the U.S. nor Europe plans to announce broader sanctions on Russia’s key industries this week, though Obama said they were keeping those measures “in reserve” in case the situation worsens and Russia launches a full military incursion into eastern Ukraine. Among the targets of those so-called sector sanctions could be Russia’s banking, defense and energy industries.

White House officials say they decided last week to impose additional penalties 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 Europe.

The EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner, giving it much greater economic leverage over Moscow than the U.S.. However, the EU treads more carefully in imposing sanctions since Russia is also one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers.

The failed diplomatic agreement reached in Geneva just over a week ago called on the Kremlin to use its influence to persuade pro-Russian insurgents to leave the government buildings they have occupied in eastern Ukraine. Those forces have not only balked at leaving those buildings, but also have also stepped up their provocations, including by capturing European military observers and parading them before the media Sunday.

U.S. officials said there is evidence that those observers have been abused while in custody.

Associated Press writers Josh Lederman in Washington and Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.

Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

New US sanctions on Russian officials, companies

KDWN

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The United States levied new sanctions Monday on seven Russian government officials, as well as 17 companies with links to Vladimir Putin’s close associates, as the Obama administration seeks to pressure the Russian leader to deescalate the crisis in Ukraine.

The U.S. sanctions were implemented in coordination with the European Union, which moved to slap visa bans and asset freezes on 15 individuals alleged to be involved with stoking instability in eastern Ukraine.

The new penalties were a response to what the West says is Russia’s failure to live up to commitments it agreed to under an international accord aimed at ending the dispute. The White House says Russia’s involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine is indisputable and warned that the U.S. and its partners were prepared to impose deeper penalties if Russia’s provocations continue.

President Barack Obama announced the U.S. sanctions while traveling in the Philippines, the last stop on a weeklong trip to Asia. He said that while his goal was not to target Putin personally, he was seeking 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.”

Among the targets of the new sanctions is Igor Sechin, the president of state oil company Rosneft, who has worked for Putin since the early 1990s. Sechin was seen as the mastermind behind the 2003 legal assault on private oil company Yukos and its founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who at the time was Russia’s richest man. The most lucrative parts of Yukos were taken over by Rosneft, making it Russia’s largest company. Rosneft has a major partnership deal with ExxonMobil.

In addition to the new sanctions, the U.S. is adding new restrictions on high-tech materials used by Russia’s defense industry that could help bolster Moscow’s military.

Obama has been building a case for this round of penalties throughout his trip to Asia, both in his public comments and in private conversations with European leaders. The new sanctions are intended to build on earlier U.S. and European visa bans and asset freezes imposed on Russian officials, including many in Putin’s inner circle, after Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last month.

But even with the new measures, Obama voiced pessimism about whether they would be enough to change Putin’s calculus.

“We don’t yet know whether it’s going to work,” he said.

Also on the list of those sanctioned by the U.S. Monday are Aleksei Pushkov, the Kremlin-connected head of Russian parliament’s lower house, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, and Sergei Chemezov, another longtime Putin ally. The White House said Putin has known Chemezov, CEO of the state-owned holding company Rostec, since the 1980s, when they both lived in the same apartment building in East Germany.

Most of the 17 companies on the list are controlled by three businessmen with close links to Putin: Gennady Timchenko, and brothers Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, all of whom were targeted by the first round of U.S. sanctions imposed in March.

One of the companies Timchenko owns is Stroytransgaz, a construction company that has amassed millions in contracts to build oil pipelines for state-owned Transneft. The company has recently expanded and won lucrative deals to build highways and soccer arenas for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

None of the 17 are public companies.

The European Union did not immediately release a list of the individuals targeted by its measures, which were awaiting formal approval from the bloc’s national governments. U.S. officials said they did not expect the two lists to be identical.

Neither the U.S. nor Europe plans to announce broader sanctions on Russia’s key industries this week, though Obama said they were keeping those measures “in reserve” in case the situation worsens and Russia launches a full military incursion into eastern Ukraine. Among the targets of those so-called sector sanctions could be Russia’s banking, defense and energy industries.

White House officials say they decided last week to impose additional penalties 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 Europe.

The EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner, giving it much greater economic leverage over Moscow than the U.S.. However, the EU treads more carefully in imposing sanctions since Russia is also one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers.

The failed diplomatic agreement reached in Geneva just over a week ago called on the Kremlin to use its influence to persuade pro-Russian insurgents to leave the government buildings they have occupied in eastern Ukraine. Those forces have not only balked at leaving those buildings, but have also stepped up their provocations, including by capturing European military observers and parading them before the media Sunday.

U.S. officials said there is evidence that those observers have been abused while in custody.

Associated Press writers Josh Lederman in Washington and Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.

Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

New US sanctions on Russian officials, companies

KDWN

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The United States levied new sanctions Monday on seven Russian government officials, as well as 17 companies with links to Vladimir Putin’s close associates, as the Obama administration seeks to pressure the Russian leader to deescalate the crisis in Ukraine.

The U.S. sanctions were implemented in coordination with the European Union, which moved to slap visa bans and asset freezes on 15 individuals alleged to be involved with stoking instability in eastern Ukraine.

The new penalties were a response to what the West says is Russia’s failure to live up to commitments it agreed to under an international accord aimed at ending the dispute. The White House says Russia’s involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine is indisputable and warned that the U.S. and its partners were prepared to impose deeper penalties if Russia’s provocations continue.

President Barack Obama announced the U.S. sanctions while traveling in the Philippines, the last stop on a weeklong trip to Asia. He said that while his goal was not to target Putin personally, he was seeking 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.”

Among the targets of the new sanctions is Igor Sechin, the president of state oil company Rosneft, who has worked for Putin since the early 1990s. Sechin was seen as the mastermind behind the 2003 legal assault on private oil company Yukos and its founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who at the time was Russia’s richest man. The most lucrative parts of Yukos were taken over by Rosneft, making it Russia’s largest company. Rosneft has a major partnership deal with ExxonMobil.

In addition to the new sanctions, the U.S. is adding new restrictions on high-tech materials used by Russia’s defense industry that could help bolster Moscow’s military.

Obama has been building a case for this round of penalties throughout his trip to Asia, both in his public comments and in private conversations with European leaders. The new sanctions are intended to build on earlier U.S. and European visa bans and asset freezes imposed on Russian officials, including many in Putin’s inner circle, after Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last month.

But even with the new measures, Obama voiced pessimism about whether they would be enough to change Putin’s calculus.

“We don’t yet know whether it’s going to work,” he said.

Also on the list of those sanctioned by the U.S. Monday are Aleksei Pushkov, the Kremlin-connected head of Russian parliament’s lower house, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, and Sergei Chemezov, another longtime Putin ally. The White House said Putin has known Chemezov, CEO of the state-owned holding company Rostec, since the 1980s, when they both lived in the same apartment building in East Germany.

Most of the 17 companies on the list are controlled by three businessmen with close links to Putin: Gennady Timchenko, and brothers Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, all of whom were targeted by the first round of U.S. sanctions imposed in March.

One of the companies Timchenko owns is Stroytransgaz, a construction company that has amassed millions in contracts to build oil pipelines for state-owned Transneft. The company has recently expanded and won lucrative deals to build highways and soccer arenas for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

None of the 17 are public companies.

The European Union did not immediately release a list of the individuals targeted by its measures, which were awaiting formal approval from the bloc’s national governments. U.S. officials said they did not expect the two lists to be identical.

Neither the U.S. nor Europe plans to announce broader sanctions on Russia’s key industries this week, though Obama said they were keeping those measures “in reserve” in case the situation worsens and Russia launches a full military incursion into eastern Ukraine. Among the targets of those so-called sector sanctions could be Russia’s banking, defense and energy industries.

White House officials say they decided last week to impose additional penalties 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 Europe.

The EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner, giving it much greater economic leverage over Moscow than the U.S.. However, the EU treads more carefully in imposing sanctions since Russia is also one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers.

The failed diplomatic agreement reached in Geneva just over a week ago called on the Kremlin to use its influence to persuade pro-Russian insurgents to leave the government buildings they have occupied in eastern Ukraine. Those forces have not only balked at leaving those buildings, but have also stepped up their provocations, including by capturing European military observers and parading them before the media Sunday.

U.S. officials said there is evidence that those observers have been abused while in custody.

Associated Press writers Josh Lederman in Washington and Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.

Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

New US sanctions on Russian officials, companies

KDWN

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The White House says the United States is sanctioning seven Russian government officials and 17 companies with links to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

The White House says the penalties are being levied because Russia has failed to live up to commitments it agreed to under an international accord aimed at deescalating the crisis in Ukraine. And the White House says it is prepared to “impose still greater costs” if Russia continues its provocations in Ukraine.

In addition to the sanctions, the U.S. is revoking export licenses for high-technology items that it says could contribute to Russia’s military capabilities.

The White House announced the sanctions while President Barack Obama is traveling in Asia.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Seeking to ratchet up pressure on Vladimir Putin, President Barack Obama said the United States will levy new sanctions Monday on Russian individuals and companies in retaliation for Moscow’s alleged provocations in Ukraine.

Obama said the targets of the sanctions would include high-technology exports to Russia’s defense industry. The full list of targets will be announced by officials in Washington later Monday and are also expected to include wealthy individuals close to Putin, the Russian president.

“The goal here is not to go after Mr. Putin personally,” Obama said. “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.”

Obama announced the sanctions during a news conference in the Philippines, his final stop on a four-country Asia swing. The president has been building a case for this round of penalties throughout his trip, both in his public comments and in private conversations with European leaders.

The new sanctions are intended to build on earlier U.S. and European visa bans and asset freezes imposed on Russian officials, including many in Putin’s inner circle, after Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last month.

White House officials say they decided last week to impose additional penalties 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 agreement reached in Geneva just over a week ago 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 who were paraded by the militants before the media Sunday.

Despite the deteriorating situation, Obama said Russia still has the opportunity to resolve the Ukraine crisis through a diplomatic path. But he voiced pessimism about whether the new sanctions package would be enough to change Putin’s calculus.

“We don’t yet know whether it’s going to work,” he said.

European diplomats were set to meet in Brussels Monday to discuss slapping asset freezes and travel bans on more officials associated with Russia’s actions on Ukraine. The EU has so far sanctioned 33 individuals over the Crimea annexation.

The EU was likely to add another 15 individuals to its sanctions list at the meeting and discuss further steps, a diplomat from a major EU country said. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official decision had not yet been announced, declined to elaborate on which officials would be targeted.

Neither the U.S. nor Europe plans to announce broader sanctions on Russia’s key industries this week, though Obama said they were keeping those measures “in reserve” in case the situation worsens and Russia launches a full military incursion into eastern Ukraine. Among the targets of those so-called sector sanctions could be Russia’s banking, defense and energy industries.

Much of Obama’s outreach to European leaders in recent weeks has focused on building support for the sector sanctions. The EU is Russia’s biggest trading partner, giving it much greater economic leverage over Moscow than the U.S. has. However, the EU treads more carefully in imposing sanctions since Russia is also one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers.

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Associated Press writer Juergen Baetz in Brussels contributed to this report.

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Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC