Countries around the world are still in shock over the loss of nearly 300 people senselessly killed when their civilian airliner was shot down over territory controlled by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine. The United States, said President Barack Obama, “is doing everything it can to support the international investigation and make sure that justice is done.”
In response to Russia’s ongoing aggression, the United States is imposing new sanctions in key sectors of the Russian economy, said President Obama:
“We’re blocking the exports of specific goods and technologies to the Russian energy sector. We’re expanding our sanctions to more Russian banks and defense companies. And we’re formally suspending credit that encourages exports to Russia and financing for economic development projects in Russia.”
The European Union is joining the United States in imposing major sanctions on Russia. In the financial sector, the EU is cutting off certain financing to state-owned banks in Russia. In the energy sector, the EU will stop exporting specific goods and technologies to Russia, which will make it more difficult for Russia to develop its oil resources. In the defense sector, the EU is prohibiting new arms imports and exports and is halting the export of sensitive technology to Russia’s military users.
Russia’s economy is already taking a significant hit. Even before the latest round of sanctions, nearly $100 billion in capital was expected to flee Russia. Indeed, projections for Russian economic growth are down to near zero.
There continues to be a better choice for Russian President Vladimir Putin -- the choice of a diplomatic solution, a choice in which Russia recognizes that it can be a good neighbor and trading partner with Ukraine even as Ukraine is also developing ties with Europe and other parts of the world.
In the meantime, the U.S. will to continue to lead the international community in its support for the Ukrainian people, and for the peace, security, and freedom that they richly deserve.