WASHINGTON, April 28 The United States plans to
slap new sanctions on Russia this week that the White House says
will target people and companies inside President Vladimir
Putin's "inner circle."
Washington also plans to impose new restrictions on
high-tech exports to Russia's defense industry in a move aimed
at punishing Moscow for not living up to an agreement to defuse
the situation in eastern Ukraine, where armed pro-Russian
separatists seized about a dozen government buildings.
The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) major economies
agreed on Saturday to swiftly impose further sanctions on Russia
over the Ukraine crisis. The United States and European Union
previously imposed limited sanctions on Russian officials over
Moscow's annexation of Crimea.
Washington could announce its new list of sanctions as early
as Monday, senior U.S. officials have said.
The White House said previously that "cronies" of Putin and
the companies they control would be targeted with sanctions.
"We will be looking to designate people who are in his inner
circle, who have a significant impact on the Russian economy.
We'll be looking to designate companies that they and other
inner-circle people control," White House deputy national
security adviser Tony Blinken said on Sunday.
"We'll be looking at taking steps, as well, with regard to
high-technology exports to their defense industry. All of this
together is going to have an impact," Blinken said on CBS' "Face
the Nation" program.
The European Union is also expected to announce sanctions as
early as Monday targeting individuals and companies. Washington
is more hawkish on further sanctions than Brussels, which has
caused some impatience among some U.S. officials with the
"We're going to be in a stronger position to deter Mr. Putin
when he sees that the world is unified and the United States and
Europe is unified rather than this is just a U.S.-Russian
conflict," U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters during a
visit to Malaysia.
The top Republican on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations
Committee said the Obama administration's sanctions on Russian
individuals had not gone far enough.
"I think we need to put sectoral sanctions in place,"
Senator Bob Corker told CBS. "To me, hitting four of the largest
banks there would send shockwaves into the economy. Hitting
(Russian gas giant) Gazprom would certainly send
shockwaves into the economy," he said.
The Western-backed government in Kiev accuses the Kremlin of
planning to invade the east of Ukraine, and of preparing the
ground by training and supporting the armed separatists.
Russia denies it is to blame for the crisis, saying
Ukraine's east is rising up in a spontaneous protest against
what it calls an illegitimate government in Kiev.
(Reporting by Eric Beech and Matt Spetalnick; Writing by Peter
Cooney; Editing by Sandra Maler)