A defiant Russia said Wednesday that Western sanctions over Ukraine would backfire on the United States and lead to energy price hikes in Europe after Brussels and Washington unveiled the toughest punitive measures against Moscow since the Cold War. Russia's response came as the Ukrainian military pushed on with its offensive against pro-Russian rebels in the east, retaking the town of Avdiyivka, only a dozen kilometres (eight miles) from the main rebel city of Donetsk. The Russian foreign ministry warned the United States it was shooting itself in the foot and said it was punishing the Kremlin for "independent policies that Washington finds inconvenient." Moscow also warned that European consumers would bear the brunt of sanctions targeting Russia's vital energy, arms and finance sectors.
The government's key witness in the corruption trial for former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell took the stand Wednesday under the cloak of immunity, and he was expected to lay out prosecutors' case in the gifts-for favors scandal.