President Obama will sign legislation imposing new economic sanctions on Russia, the White House said Tuesday, as the U.S. claimed some credit for sparking Moscow’s roiling currency crisis and moved to deepen the pain.
Still, White House officials acknowledged there were no guarantees Russia’s economic woes and another round of sanctions would compel Vladimir Putin to curtail aggressive actions in Ukraine. The Russian economy has been in a downward spiral for months, but Putin has managed to maintain political support at home.
“The aim is to sharpen the choice he faces,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said of the sanctions. He said Obama was likely to sign the bill this week. The measure cleared Congress late Saturday.
Obama’s support came as the Russian ruble continued its precipitous fall. The impact of the Western sanctions has been compounded by plummeting oil prices, leading Russia’s Central Bank to announce a massive middle-of-the-night interest rate increase Tuesday in an unsuccessful bid to stabilize the currency.
Obama economic adviser Jason Furman said Russia was grappling with a crisis of its own making.