Obama: U.S. to step up economic penalties on Russia

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says the U.S. is moving ahead with tougher economic sanctions on Russia over what the U.S. says are Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine.

Obama says the sanctions will affect Russia’s financial, energy and defense sectors. He says they’ll increase Moscow’s political isolation and economic costs to the country.

The U.S. penalties are paired with a new round of European Union sanctions announced Thursday in Brussels. The U.S. and the EU will both disclose the full details Friday.

The latest sanctions from the West come despite a cease-fire reached last week between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists.

Obama says if Russia follows through with its commitments to help end the crisis, the sanctions can be rolled back. Otherwise, he says, they’ll be increased.


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