The U.S. and the European Union are nearing tougher sanctions against Russia for its role in the fighting that continues to rage in eastern Ukraine.

The sanctions target “key” Russian industries — energy, defense and finance — and are being imposed in the face of Vladimir Putin “doubling down” in support of rebels battling Ukrainian troops, U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said yesterday. The EU is preparing to announce a list of the Russian president’s “cronies” subject to asset freezes and travel bans after reaching an agreement yesterday. At least 10 soldiers and 22 civilians died in violence in the past day.

“Putin continues to isolate himself in the court of world opinion,” retired U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis, ex-supreme allied commander of NATO, said today on Bloomberg Television’s “Surveillance.” The sanctions “look stronger than they did three-four weeks ago. They’re moving in the right direction.”

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