The United States and European Union have increased sanctions against Russia over its alleged support for separatists fighting in Ukraine.

Addressing newsmen in Washington, President Barack Obama said the sanctions are designed to have the maximum impact on Russia. Major Russian banks, defence firms and energy companies have been targeted in the sanctions.

In Brussels, the EU leaders agreed to beef up sanctions against Russia, but they said the list of entities and persons affected would be announced by the end of this month.

Reacting to the developments, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a statement in Brazil the sanctions would take US-Russia relations to a dead end.

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