US sanctions target key Russia economic sectors

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States hit Russia Friday with a new round of economic sanctions, levying penalties on Russia's largest bank and expanding financing restrictions on major energy and defense companies.

The sanctions were imposed in coordination with the European Union, which unveiled its own package of penalties hours earlier. Officials said the parallel penalties are aimed at punishing Russia for deepening its provocations in Ukraine, including sending forces and weaponry across the border.

The penalties were levied despite a fragile cease-fire between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists. However, officials said the sanctions could be rolled back if the separatists and Russia implement the agreement in good faith.

A prime target of the new sanctions is Sberbank of Russia, the country's largest financial institution. The bank accounts for approximately a quarter of Russian banking assets and a third of its banking capital, according to the Obama administration.