President Barack Obama reveals decision to impose additional sanctions on some of Russia's largest companies and institutions over Ukraine. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The United States on Wednesday (July 16) imposed its most wide-ranging sanctions yet on Russia's economy, including Gazprombank and the Rosneft Oil Co, and other major banks and energy and defense companies. Washington has steadily escalated its financial sanctions on Russia over what it views as Moscow's interference in its neighbor Ukraine. President Barack Obama in recent weeks has repeatedly threatened new sanctions, and appears to have run out of patience as fighting continued to rage in eastern Ukraine. "Given its continued provocations in Ukraine, today I have approved a new set of sanctions on some of Russia's largest companies and financial institutions. Along with our allies, with whom I've been coordinating closely with the last several days and weeks, I've repeated made it clear that Russia must halt the flow of weapons and fighters across the border into Ukraine, that Russia must urge separatists to release their hostages and support a ceasefire, that Russia must pursue internationally mediated talks, and agree to monitors ont the border," Obama told reporters Wednesday afternoon. The new sanctions also include senior Russian officials, including the deputy head of the State Duma, or parliament, the minister of the Crimea, a commander of the Russian intelligence agency FSB, and a Ukrainian separatist leader, several of whom had already been targeted by the European Union. Sanctions effectively cut the people and companies off from the U.S. financial system. The sanctions, posted on the U.S. Treasury Department website, stopped short of targeting Gazprom, Russia's biggest gas company, which provides much of Europe's energy supplies. They were announced on the same day that European Union leaders met in Brussels, where they also discussed new sanctions on Russia. Washington said on Wednesday up to 12,000 Russian forces were back on the border with Ukraine and that weaponry was crossing over to pro-Russian separatists.