U.S. Sanctions Russia Across the Board

The White House announced on Wednesday that the U.S. is expanding sanctions on Russia. Top targets are Gazprom, the state-controlled natural gas producer, and Rosneft, the state-owned oil company and the country's largest oil producer. Vnesheconombank, the state economic development bank, along with eight state-owned defense companies and four government officials, including an aide to President Vladimir Putin, were also among the targeted. The companies will not have access to American debt markets for loans for 90 days according to the new sanctions. They are far more stringent than previously issued financial and travel restrictions and will attack entire sectors of the Russian economy. Obama’s decision to escalate sanctions indicates that the U.S. believes Russia has not discontinued its military support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. White House press Secretary Josh Earnest said “We have said for quite some time that Russia’s failure to take some of the steps that would de-escalate the conflict in Ukraine put them at risk of facing greater isolation and greater economic consequences.”