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'Bigger Bite': Obama Joins EU to Impose New Sanctions on Russia

Isolating Russia is "a choice that Russia and President Putin in particular has made," Obama says.
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President Barack Obama praised the European Union Tuesday for imposing tough new sanctions on Russia and announced additional U.S. sanctions on the country's defense, energy and financial sectors.

"Because we are closely coordinating our actions with Europe, the sanctions we are announcing today will have an even bigger bite," Obama said in remarks at the White House.

"Today is a reminder that the United States means what it says," he said.

Obama added that Russia continues to isolate itself from the international community, "a choice that Russia and President Putin in particular has made."

The European Union reached an agreement to impose the new sanctions against Russia earlier Tuesday in a move that will target the country’s energy and defense industries.

EU nations, which depend far more on Russian energy than the United States, had initially been reluctant to impose sanctions as stringent as those ordered by the United States because such restrictions could have a blowback effect on their own economies.

On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the decision “unavoidable.”

“It is now up to the leadership in Russia to decide whether they want to go the way of de-escalation and cooperation,” she added.


- Carrie Dann