The European Union reacted with relative lightning speed to the death of hundreds of its citizens in a Malaysian passenger jet shot down over eastern Ukraine July 17. Within two weeks, the fractious 28-member community unanimously agreed on a beefed-up package of what the bloc called “sectoral sanctions” against Russia, which the West holds responsible for supporting the rebel groups that likely shot down MH17.

EU officials announced the new punitive package after a meeting of ambassadors on July 29. Although exact details remain to be disclosed, official hints made clear that Europe’s often clumsy diplomatic process had produced a deftly targeted package. The EU unsheathed two of its potent tactical weapons against Moscow ­— access to capital markets and advanced technology — while avoiding such nuclear options as cutting off Russian banks from short-term transactions and canceling any existing energy sales or investments. Washington announced the same day that it will impose similar measures. “The Western countries are becoming more and more creative in thinking up sanctions that are painful to Russia’s political and economic elite while damaging the interests of Western business as little as possible,” Sergey Smirnov, a researcher at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, commented in a biweekly written report issued by the institution.

The sternest of the promised new sanctions is a ban on Russian state banks’ borrowing on Western markets for a term longer than 90 days. Sanctions by the U.S. are also ramped up, as the administration published a list including No. 2 bank VTB while excluding Sberbank, which dominates Russian finance, but leaks from EU officials indicate that they will include Sberbank on their blacklist. The EU is also expected to curtail the export of oil and gas technology that Russia needs to develop its next generation of energy resources, many of which are found in challenging offshore fields in the Arctic and northern Pacific oceans, as well as so-called dual-use goods that could have a military use.

After months in which European capitals dragged their feet over retaliatory actions against Moscow, the latest round of sanctions represented hardening Western attitudes toward President Vladimir Putin’s perceived truculence and military escalation, even after the MH17 bloodbath. “What’s clear is the long-term trend of divergence,” says Fredrik Erixon, director of the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels. “Russia has shown itself to be a very unpredictable place, which will lead to far less foreign direct investment and accelerate the diversification of European gas imports.”