Unsatisfied with a fragile cease-fire in Ukraine, the United States and the European Union levied new sanctions Friday against major Russian banks and defense companies, as well as penalties aimed at curtailing Russia’s ability to develop oil and gas projects.
But the restrictions on Russia’s energy sector were carefully crafted to avoid impacting the country’s current production of oil and gas, a move that would raise global energy prices at time of weak economic growth. Russia is the largest oil exporter outside of OPEC and the most important supplier of natural gas to Europe.
The Western sanctions came one week after Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists signed a cease-fire aimed at ending a monthslong conflict. The agreement has been routinely violated, and U.S. officials say they are yet to see signs that Russia is implementing the deal in good faith.