President Obama says new sanctions will target Russia defense sector over moves in Ukraine

President Obama speaks at a news at the Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014. Reuters

MANILA, Philippines -- Seeking to ratchet up pressure on Vladimir Putin, President Obama said the United States would levy new sanctions Monday on Russian individuals and companies in retaliation for Moscow's alleged provocations in Ukraine.

Mr. Obama said the expanded sanctions would target high-technology defense industry exports "that we don't think are appropriate to be exporting to Russia at this time."

The full list of targets was to be announced by officials in Washington later Monday and was also expected to include wealthy individuals close to Putin, the Russian president.

"The goal here is not to go after Mr. Putin personally," President Obama said. "The goal is to change his calculus with respect to how the current actions that he's engaging in could have an adverse impact on the Russian economy over the long haul."

Mr. Obama announced the sanctions during a news conference in the Philippines, his final stop on a four-country Asia swing.

White House officials said they decided last week to impose the new sanctions after determining that Russia had not lived up to its commitments under a fragile diplomatic accord aimed at easing the crisis in Ukraine. But the U.S. held off on implementing the sanctions in order to coordinate its actions with the European Union, which could also announce new penalties as early as Monday.

The failed diplomatic accord reached in Geneva called on the Kremlin to use its influence to get pro-Russian insurgents to leave the government buildings they have occupied in eastern Ukraine. But those forces have not only balked at leaving those buildings, but have also stepped up their provocations, including capturing European military observers.

Even as he announced the new sanctions package, Mr. Obama acknowledged that "we don't yet know whether it's going to work."

The president said his government was "keeping in reserve additional steps we could take, should the situation escalate."

Without going into specifics, Mr. Obama said that next stage could include "sectoral sanctions, less narrowly targeted" against Russia's defense industry. "Those would be more broad-based," added the president.

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