President Obama escalated sanctions against Russia on Wednesday by targeting a series of large banks and energy and defense firms in what officials described as the most punishing measures to date for Moscow's intervention in Ukraine.
While the latest moves do not cut off entire sectors of the Russian economy, as threatened in the past, the administration's actions go significantly further than the financial and travel limits imposed so far on several dozen individuals and their businesses. The new measures will severely restrict access to American debt markets for the targeted companies.
The moves were coordinated with European leaders, who were meeting in Brussels on Wednesday to consider their own package of penalties against Russia. The Europeans declined to go as far as the United States, instead focusing on a plan to block loans for new projects in Russia by European investment and development banks.
The disparate approaches reflect the deeper divisions between Washington and Brussels over how tough to be with Russia.
But American officials said the fact that Europe was moving ahead with additional actions, even if not as stringent as their own, should be seen as a sign of continuing solidarity in the face of Russian provocation in Ukraine. The synchronized actions were arranged during a Tuesday telephone call between Mr. Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who has been the most critical player driving the European response to Russia.