Russia Update – Piling On

Putin’s oil prices plunging? His ruble on the run? Budget deficits yawning? Looming debt payments dogging his pet companies? Vlad The Bad doesn’t need even more western sanctions. But that’s what he’s getting.

On December 18, 2014, the European Union imposed new bans on sales by EU members of oil and gas technologies to Crimea. It also barred European firms, dealing with the transport, telecom, energy and tourism sectors, from doing business in Crimea. And President Obama also prohibited the export of goods, technology, or services to Crimea, as well as the import of goods, technology, or services from Crimea and new investments in Crimea.

Obama also signed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, which authorizes him – but does not require him – to slap additional sanctions on Russia. While Obama is loathe to exercise powers that would push US sanctions beyond what our European allies would adopt, the added authority is hardly good news for Vlad.

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