Wed, Mar 05, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Use of force a last resort in Ukraine: Putin

Reuters, MOSCOW and KERCH, Ukraine

US President Barack Obama met national security advisers on Monday to discuss how Washington and its allies could “further isolate” Russia, a White House official said.

“Over time this will be a costly proposition for Russia,” Obama told reporters.

Members of the US Congress are looking at options, including sanctions on Russia’s banks and freezing assets of Russian public institutions and private investors, but they said they wanted European states to step up their involvement.

A Kremlin aide said that if the US did impose sanctions, Moscow might drop the US dollar as a reserve currency and refuse to repay loans to US banks.

An IMF mission is in Kiev to discuss financial assistance for Ukraine to help it avoid bankruptcy. Kiev’s new leaders want a financial package of at least US$15 billion, with a quick release of some of the cash.

The EU has threatened unspecified “targeted measures” unless Russia returns its forces to their bases and opens talks with Ukraine’s new government.

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