US, Europe impose tough new sanctions on Russia

Russia's President Vladimir Putin is shown in this July 2014 file photo as he arrives for an official group photo during the BRICS summit at the Itamaraty palace, in Brasilia, Brazil. Months after Russia annexed Crimea and stepped up support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, Europe and the U.S. are still searching for an effective way to persuade Putin to change course.

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has announced new economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy in the latest move by the U.S. to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his support for Ukrainian rebels.

Obama says the sanctions target Russia's energy, weapons and finance industries, including big banks.

The U.S. penalties follow other new sanctions that European Union leaders agreed to earlier Tuesday.

The European penalties are similar to sanctions imposed by the U.S. just two weeks ago targeting other big Russian banks, and energy and defense companies.

The U.S. and its European allies blame Russian-supported separatists for destabilizing eastern Ukraine and for this month's downing of a commercial airplane carrying 298 people as it flew over rebel-controlled territory.