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Obama threatens broader sanctions on Russia



Washington, May 3 (IANS) US President Barack Obama said Friday that the US and Germany were prepared to impose broader sanctions on Russia if it continues to destabilise Ukraine.

"We will not have a choice but to move forward with additional, more severe sanctions," if Russia disrupts Ukraine’s elections scheduled for May 25, Obama said at a joint news conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House, Xinhua reported.

"We are confident that we will have a package that will further impact Russia’s growth and economy," Obama said, adding that the sanctions could target Russia’s energy, arms and finance sectors.

Merkel said the European Union(EU)was prepared to slap a new round of sanctions on Russia with "a broad range of possibilities", stressing that sanctions on Russia show that "we are serious about our principles."

Obama added that the sanctions were not aimed at "punishing the Russian people," but dissuading the Russian President Vladimir Putin from his current course.

Obama also called on Russia to help free observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Ukraine. The US president also said that pro-Russian militants were still holding seven observers, including four Germans.

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