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U.S. and EU ready for tough sanctions against Russia

Staff writer |
The U.S. and EU are preparing to strike at Russian banks, energy and minerals firms if Russia invades mainland Ukraine.

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Speaking to U.S. senators in Washington secretary of state John Kerry used blunt terms to describe events in Ukraine's Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions in recent days. "Everything that we've seen in the last 48 hours from Russian provocateurs and agents operating in eastern Ukraine tells us that they've been sent there determined to create chaos... These efforts are as ham-handed as they are transparent."

"No one should be fooled, and believe me, no one is fooled by what could potentially be a contrived pretext for military intervention just as we saw in Crimea," said Mr. Kerry.

"The United States and our allies will not hesitate to use 21st-century tools to hold Russia accountable for 19th-century behaviour," sai Mr. Kerry. He added "Tough new sanctions on those orchestrating this action and on key sectors of the Russian economy, in energy, banking, mining, they're all on the table."

The draft measures designate curbs on Russian banks and financial services firms, trade in certain commodities, bans on EU companies' services for Russian oil and gas firms, and a potential arms embargo.

The oil and gas sector sanctions could cover transfer of technology, investments in new exploration and infrastructure, and peripheral services such as insurance or logistics, but not an Iran-type ban on EU imports of oil and gas.

The EU is also preparing to blacklist more Russian officials from a draft list of over 100 people, 33 of whom were already put under a visa ban and asset freeze in March.

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