President Barack Obama warned that Russia’s oil and gas businesses may be targeted for sanctions if the country’s troops move further into Ukraine.
After talks Wednesday with European Union officials in Brussels, Obama said countries are coordinating further potential measures following the annexation of Crimea.
“Any such move against Russia’s energy sector would potentially affect one of the world’s largest companies, Gazprom,” the Herald Scotland said.
The U.S. has already imposed visa bans on dozens of high-profile Russians linked to President Vladimir Putin, and frozen the St Petersburg-based Rossiya Bank ‘out of the Dollar,’ the report said.
President Obama said: “What we are now doing is co-ordinating around the potential for additional, deeper sanctions should Russia move forward and engage in further incursions into Ukraine.
“I think energy is obviously a central focus of our efforts and we have to consider it very strongly.”
Obama also urged Europe to work towards diversifying its energy sources, including looking to the U.S. to offset shortfalls from Russia supplies, the Herald Scotland said.
The president said: “I think it is useful for Europe to look at its own energy assets as well as how the United States can supply additional energy assets.”
Ukraine’s government yesterday announced it is to hike the price of domestic gas for customers by 50% from May 1.