In a brief public speech today, President Obama unveiled a new round of sanctions against Russia, this time banning US financial companies from offering credit to finance growth Russia’s energy sector and banning US exports of certain equipment to Russia.
Obama denied that the sanctions amounted to the start of a new Cold War, and insisted they were targeted entirely on showing displeasure for Russia”s support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.
At the same time, US officials have made clear that they intend to push new sanctions irrespective of what Russia does in Ukraine, and Obama’s comments focused on crippling the Russian economy as a whole, not just on ending Russia’s calls for a ceasefire in east Ukraine.
Though Obama touted the putative damage done to Russia’s economy by past sanctions, recent reports have suggested US exports to Russia have actually been going up in recent weeks, and are so trivially small at any rate as to be unlikely to have a serious impact on the nation’s economy.
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