Washington: The White House says it expects the European Union to impose new sanctions this week against Russia, including against key sectors of the Russian economy, and that the United States will implement additional measures as well.
Tony Blinken, a deputy national security adviser, says the steps are necessary to convince Russia to cease support of separatists in Ukraine and stop destabilizing the former Soviet republic.
Blinken addressed reporters after President Barack Obama and European leaders conferred today about next steps for dealing with the crisis in Ukraine.
The White House says Obama held a joint call today with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
The West accuses separatists in eastern Ukraine of shooting down a passenger jet earlier this month and blames Russia for supplying the rebels with equipment that can take down a plane.
Tougher US sanctions are expected this week. The EU also reached a preliminary deal last week on sanctions that would target Russia`s access to European capital markets and trade in the defense sector and sensitive technologies.