The U.S. penalties follow tougher sanctions agreed to by European Union leaders earlier in the day.
According to the Treasury Department, the U.S. penalties target the Bank of Moscow, the Russian Agricultural Bank and VTB Bank. Also listed on the Treasury designation is the United Shipbuilding Corp., which is based in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Ahead of Obama’s announcement, White House spokesman Josh Earnest welcomed the European sanctions. He said he expects the European penalties to track closely with sanctions imposed by the U.S. about two weeks ago targeting major Russian banks as well as energy and defense companies.
The U.S. has been pressing Europe to catch up with the American sanctions after the downing of a passenger jet in eastern Ukraine. The West blames Russian-backed separatists for shooting down the plane.
JULIE PACE, AP White House Correspondent