WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has drawn up plans to escalate sanctions against Russia by targeting its financial, energy and defense industries, but faces resistance from European allies hoping to avoid a broader economic clash with Moscow that would hurt their own businesses.
Even as the Kremlin voices support for a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, American officials remain unconvinced that it has backed up words with deeds. Russia has moved troops back to the border and positioned heavy artillery there in what American officials consider an effort to help the separatists, who on Tuesday shot down a Ukrainian military helicopter.
But President Obama faces hurdles as he tries to keep the pressure up on the government of President Vladimir V. Putin. European Union leaders, who are scheduled to meet Friday in Brussels, are reluctant to go along if it looks like Mr. Putin may be backing down. And American business leaders objecting to unilateral actions that would hurt their companies are kicking off an advertising campaign to oppose Mr. Obama’s plans.
Mr. Obama spoke with Mr. Putin on Monday to urge him to take more tangible steps to defuse the crisis, and the Russian leader on Tuesday seemed to respond by asking his Parliament to rescind formal authorization to intervene militarily in Ukraine. American officials considered the move positive but symbolic, assuming that it was really meant to undercut European support for additional sanctions.
As Secretary of State John Kerry and other American diplomats visited Brussels to talk with their European counterparts, Mr. Obama called Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain on Tuesday to consult on the next steps in the crisis, which could be decided this week. Both men indicated afterward that Russia had yet to take the sort of actions demanded by the Group of 7 industrial nations...