U.S. Threatens Russia With New Sanctions

obamaThe United States and the European Union are finalizing further sanctions against Russia that could be imposed if Moscow takes additional military action in Ukraine, senior U.S. administration officials and European diplomats said Thursday.

The sources stressed that no decisions have been made yet to put additional measures in place. This week’s renewed fighting triggered a discussion of additional sanctions, they said, but the fighting ended before a decision to act was made.

The sources said the potential new measures to be presented to Western leaders range from adding names and companies to the current sanctions to imposing broader penalties on Russia’s financial, energy and defense sectors.

The point at which Russian military moves would prompt new sanctions is a case of “you know it when you see it,” a senior administration official said. “It could be any major assault anywhere across the line of contact. We all know what we are talking about, and we want to be prepared and have stuff ready to go in case we need it.

“There is a whole range of different options leaders will have available to respond to any renewed Russian aggression, to which we could respond pretty quickly and vigorously. We are not talking about weeks,” the official said.

Discussion of additional sanctions comes as the EU is widely expected to renew trade and personal sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine when they expire toward the end of the month.

Both the U.S. and EU have linked the lifting of sanctions to implementation of a peace accord hammered out in February by Russia with the leaders of Ukraine, France and Germany in the capital of Belarus.

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