WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is preparing to ratchet up sanctions on Russia and boost assistance for the Ukrainian military in the coming days, U.S. officials said Wednesday.
Officials said they had no plans to levy new sanctions ahead of today's talks in Geneva among the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union. But with expectations low for a breakthrough in those meetings, officials already have prepared targets for sanctions that include wealthy individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the entities they run.
"Each time Russia takes these kinds of steps that are designed to destabilize Ukraine and violate their sovereignty, there are going to be consequences," President Barack Obama said in an interview with CBS News. "Mr. Putin's decisions aren't just bad for Ukraine. Over the long term, they're going to be bad for Russia."
The administration also was working on a package of nonlethal assistance for Ukraine's military. The assistance, which was expected to be finalized this week, could include medical supplies and clothing, but the United States was expected to stop short of providing body armor and other military-style equipment.