Industryweek 6591 Us Eu Slap Sanctions Russia Violence Surges Ukraine

US, EU Slap Sanctions on Russia as Violence Surges in Ukraine

April 28, 2014
The United States and Europe whack Russia with fresh sanctions for failing to stop soaring tensions in Ukraine.

KOSTYANTYNIVKA, Ukraine -- The United States and Europe Monday whacked Russia with fresh sanctions for failing to stop soaring tensions in Ukraine, where a pro-Moscow mayor was shot and badly wounded and pro-Moscow militants seized another town and attacked a rally.

As Western powers stepped up the pressure on Moscow over the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War, the White House imposed sanctions on seven Russian officials and 17 firms close to President Vladimir Putin.

The European Union said it was adding 15 names to its own list.

The Kremlin hit back almost immediately, vowing a "painful" response for Washington.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency that Moscow was "disgusted" by the U.S. action, which he said showed Washington had "completely lost touch with reality."

Ukraine also threatened to take Russia to court over its threat to cut off gas supplies if Kiev does not pay its bills.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told reporters Ukraine would pay $2.2 billion to Russia's state-owned gas company Gazprom (IW 1000/16) if it accepts a price of $268 per 1,000 cubic meters -- almost half of what the firm wants to levy.

The crisis has escalated at breathtaking pace since November when pro-Western protesters in Kiev began mass demonstrations against Kremlin-backed then-president Viktor Yanukovych after he rejected an agreement to bring Ukraine closer to the European Union.

After four months of protests, which turned deadly as authorities tried to break them up, Yanukovych was forced from power.

In response, Moscow launched a blitz annexation of the peninsula of Crimea and stepped up troop movements on the border.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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