The Obama administration announced it was preparing new sanctions against Moscow because of escalating tensions in eastern Ukraine. Russian troops conducted military exercises near the Ukrainian border before the sanctions were reported. The European Union is developing plans to target an additional 15 Kremlin leaders and pro-Russian Ukrainians, reports The Wall Street Journal. The EU has already placed sanctions on 30 Russians.
The U.S. military has sent 600 troops to Eastern European countries to reassure allies in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia of its commitment to the region's defense.
Standard & Poor's cut Russia's sovereign debt rating on Friday to BBB-, its lowest investment grade.
“The tense geopolitical situation between Russia and Ukraine could see additional significant outflows of both foreign and domestic capital from the Russian economy and hence further undermine already weakening growth prospects,” S&P said in the statement.
Russia's central bank hiked its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage as a measure to tame rising inflation.
Will any of these moves stop Putin from interfering in Ukraine?
Not likely, says Dan Gross, a columnist at The Daily Beast. Sanctions have not halted Russia's oil and gas production, nor have they convinced the Chinese and German governments to stop importing Russian oil. If the U.S. wants to make a real difference in Ukraine, American and Western officials have to bar Russian oligarchs from "buying a condo in London," says Gross in the video above. "That will have more impact on their behavior."
Why haven't the markets responded more strongly to the latest events in Ukraine? Watch the video to find out.
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