Amid talk of a possible cease-fire between Ukrainian forces and Moscow-backed separatists, President Obama and European leaders at a NATO summit meeting here on Thursday prepared a new round of sanctions against Russian officials, banks and enterprises that could be imposed as early as Friday.
The action, intended to intensify pressure on Russia to cease its intervention in Ukraine, came as the Ukrainian president, Petro O. Poroshenko, said he would seek Friday to establish “a bilateral cease-fire” that would lay the foundation for a “stage-by-stage peace plan” for his country. Mr. Poroshenko also met with NATO leaders to discuss a new aid package the alliance will send Kiev.
In a meeting here Thursday, Mr. Obama and the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Italy “agreed that there need to be additional costs imposed on Russia for what they’ve done in Ukraine,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser.
He said the United States would coordinate with the Europeans in imposing new sanctions to give them the “maximum impact” against Russia. “The key point is that Russia must continue to face costs for its own escalation,” Mr. Rhodes said. “At the same time, if there can be a peaceful de-escalation, that’s preferable.”