CEO of Rosneft says US sanctions on company are illegal

The CEO of Russia's oil giant Rosneft, Igor Sechin, said the new U.S. sanctions on the energy company are illegal.

Sechin said Wednesday night that the sanctions were illegal because Rosneft has not played a role in the Ukrainian crisis, Reuters reports.

Sechin also warned that sanctions will damage shareholders of U.S. companies and banks working with Rosneft but will not affect current projects with ExxonMobil.

Earlier U.S. sanctions only hit energy CEOs like Sechin himself, and were said to have little, if any, impact on Russia's energy sector.

President Obama announced the latest round of sanctions Wednesday, which hit Rosneft Oil Co., Gazprombank and other major banks, energy and defense companies. 

Russia's energy stranglehold on Ukraine has also led to increased calls for liquefied natural gas exports on Capitol Hill.