U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to sign legislation enacting sanctions on Russia by the end of the week, the White House announced Tuesday. Congress passed a bill on Saturday, which would implement new sanctions against Russia's defense and energy industries.
The sanctions are being set in place in response to Russia’s attacks on the Ukraine, in which pro-Russia separatists have been antagonizing the eastern part of the country, according to Reuters. Ukraine has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to insight a “full-scale war that would pose a broader threat to NATO countries.”
Among the companies being sanctioned include the arms exporter Rosoboroneksport and several high-tech oil projects. The sanctions arrive as the Russian rouble dropped 11 percent on Tuesday, a decrease that rivals stock activity during the Russian financial crisis in 1998, Reuters noted.
"These sanctions could be lifted in a matter of weeks or days, depending on the choices that President Putin takes," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in London on Tuesday, adding that the sanctions were not put in place to "hurt the people of Russia."
While there were no attacks on Ukraine Tuesday, Ukaine General Staff Commander Viktor Muzhenko said that there were up to 10,000 heavily armed Russian Federation soldiers in eastern Ukraine. However, there were reportedly up to 50,000 Russian soldiers in the area on Dec. 9, when a “day of silence” was put in place.
Peace talks between Ukraine, Russia, the two pro-Russian separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and the EU have been postponed repeatedly, according to Radio Free Europe.