US weighing stronger Russia sanctions

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The Obama administration is considering limits on hi-tech exports to Russia’s Arctic oil and gas industry as part of stepped-up sanctions against Russia.

"We are looking at further tightening of restrictions on energy exports and the licensing of hi-tech exports, not only to the energy sector but specifically to Arctic oil and gas," U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Anthony Gardner told Reuters in Brussels.

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In conjunction with the U.S., the EU is also expected to impose additional sanctions against Russia as a result of its latest actions in eastern Ukraine. The report did not indicate when the new sanctions would be announced. 

EU leaders hinted at the new round of sanctions over the weekend after NATO and the government in Kiev said Russian troops had invaded Ukraine. 

“Everything is on the table right now," Gardner said.

Some other sanctions options the U.S. might consider include limiting Russian state firms from financing themselves abroad, tightening restrictions on military sales to Russia and the expansion of an export ban on certain goods, the report noted. 

Diplomats said the EU is considering banning Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu from entering the European Union and broadening a ban on borrowing or raising capital in Europe to all Russian state-owned firms, Reuters reported.

The U.S. and EU last imposed sanctions in late July in the wake of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine. President Obama has also implemented sanctions targeting Russia’s defense, energy and financial sectors.

In a speech from Estonia on Wednesday, Obama called on NATO partners to "stand united against Russia's aggression.” 

His comments came ahead of the NATO summit he will attend in Wales. The U.S. will seek to build a stronger coalition against Russia and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria at the meeting.