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United States, European Union To Sanction Russia’s Economic Sector

St. Petersburg, Russia

President Barack Obama and European Union leaders have agreed to broaden sanctions against Russia for continuing to  support and arm rebels in Ukraine, a senior administration official said on Monday.

Deputy National Security adviser Tony Blinken said that Obama held a conference call with British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Monday in which they jointly adopted a new strategy to sanction Russia, the LA Times reported.

“We expect the European Union to take significant additional steps this week, including in key sectors of the Russian economy,” Blinken said in a report by The Wall Street Journal. “In turn, and in full coordination with Europe, the United States will implement additional measures itself.”

The leaders agreed that Russia has no plans to use its influence on the separatists to negotiate with the Ukrainian government and, instead, continues to arm the rebels with a flow of high-powered artillery that has increased in the past few days, defense officials said.

French President Hollande confirmed the consensus but refused to divulge more details about the increased sanctions.

“The five heads of state and government confirmed that—in these conditions—they intend to adopt new measures against Russia,” Hollande’s office said.

Yet, according to the same report by The Los Angeles Times, the new sanctions will prevent Europeans from investing in, or advising on new debt or stocks offered by any Russian bank that is more than 50%-owned by the state–which effectively covers most of Russia’s biggest financial institutions.

It will also prevent Russia from accessing the latest technological advancements that could be used for military development and impose an embargo on the sale of arms to the former Soviet Union.

Last week, the U.S. and other European leaders maintained that Russian President Vladimir Putin bears a major responsibility for the Ukraine rebels’ shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

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