The US and EU Wednesday strengthened sanctions on Moscow, accusing Russia of continued support for the Ukraine separatists. US sanctions for the first time directly hit Russia’s finance, military and energy sectors, barring from US capital markets two major Russian financial institutions, Gazprombank and VEB, and two giant Russian energy firms, OA Novatek and Rosneft.

Moscow threatened serious retaliation in the worst standoff between the West and Russia since the Cold War. Vladimir Putin, on a visit to Brasilia, warned that the biting sanctions would boomerang and hurt the national long-term interests of the US, the American people.