Posted: Mar 7, 2014 1:43 AM
Updated: Mar 7, 2014 1:43 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) Underlying talk about taking harsh punitive measures against Russia for its military incursion into Ukraine are economic complications and worries that sanctions levied against Moscow could backfire on the U.S. and Europe.
Heavier U.S. and European Union sanctions could sting Russia's already slow-growing economy and hurt its financial sector. But Moscow could retaliate and seize American and other foreign assets or cut exports of natural gas to Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russia for energy.
President Barack Obama says he and Europe are working together on the crisis in Ukraine, but Europe remains divided on taking more drastic steps such as freezing assets and issuing travel bans on Russian officials.
Targeting influential Russian businessmen or major Russian companies would also harm Europe's economic interests.