Obama, Merkel: More Sanctions if Russia Disrupts Election - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Obama, Merkel: More Sanctions if Russia Disrupts Election

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(NBC News) -- President Barack Obama said Friday that the U.S. and its allies will "move quickly" to impose further sanctions against Russia if it disrupts the Ukrainian election, saying that they have a "range of tools at our disposal" to impose costs on the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He made the comments during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel told reporters that further sanctions will be "unavoidable" if the situation in Ukraine is not stabilized by the election later this month. 'We are ready and prepared" to impose more sweeping sanctions on sectors of the Russian economy, she said.

The visit comes as the U.S. and Germany continue to lead the charge in denouncing Russia over Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.

While the U.S. and its allies want to present a united front in condemning Russian actions, the tougher sectoral sanctions against that the Obama administration has floated would have major consequences for Germany and other European nations with greater economic interest in Russia.

Obama acknowledged Friday that some countries in Europe would face harsher retaliation for sanctions and that many are dependent on the flow of energy from Russia. But, noting that energy resources flowed from Russia to the continent even throughout the Cold War, he said that the notion of "turning off the tap" of natural gas and oil would be "unrealistic."

And the two nations are also still at odds on National Security Agency eavesdropping – which extended to Merkel’s own cell phone. An effort to negotiate a reform of intelligence gathering practices between both countries has collapsed, the New York Times reported Friday.

First published May 2nd 2014, 11:04 am

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