Pro-Ukranian protesters light flares during a rally in the eastern city of Donetsk April 28, 2014. (REUTERS/Marko Djurica)
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The United States and Europe Monday whacked Russia with fresh sanctions for failing to stop soaring tensions in Ukraine, where a pro-Moscow mayor was shot and badly wounded and pro-Moscow militants seized another town and attacked a rally.As Western powers stepped up the pressure on Moscow over the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War, the White House imposed sanctions on seven Russian officials and 17 firms close to President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin hit back almost immediately, vowing a "painful" response for Washington.Washington is also tightening licensing requirements for certain high-tech exports to Russia that could have a military use.The Western sanctions are a response to Russia's perceived failure to implement an April 17 deal struck in Geneva to defuse the crisis. Washington has threatened to target specific sectors of the Russian economy if the tens of thousands of troops the Kremlin has ordered to the border actually invade Ukraine. As the sanctions lashed Russia, tensions on the ground in eastern Ukraine showed little sign of easing. Ukraine also threatened to take Russia to court over its threat to cut off gas supplies if Kiev does not pay its bills.
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