BRUSSELS (QHA) -

The United States and the European Union significantly strengthened sanctions on Russia over Ukraine on July 16, with Washington for the first time directly targeting Russia's banking, military and energy sectors, RFE/RL reports.

The entities include Rosneft, a state-owned oil company, state-owned bank Vnesheconombank, natural gas producer Novatek and Gazprombank, the financing arm of Gazprom.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced the new sanctions over what he called a failure by Russia to take concrete steps to stop an escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine.

"I've repeatedly made it clear that Russia must halt the flow of weapons and fighters across the border into Ukraine," Obama said, adding that he had said this directly to President Vladimir Putin.

Past rounds of sanctions had mostly focused on sanctioning individuals and banning them from traveling to the United States.

QHA