By Mick Krever, CNN
The United States aimed to not “disrupt current sales of Russian oil and gas” in imposing a new round of sanctions against Moscow, a top U.S. official explained Wednesday.
“Europe depends on it; we didn’t want to disrupt markets, have prices rise, and give the Russians a sanctions premium, so to speak,” U.S. Coordinator for Sanctions Policy Daniel Fried told CNN’s Hala Gorani, in for Christiane Amanpour.
“So we deliberately chose to go after longer-term production. And of course, this is a message to the Russians, very clearly, that if they keep going down the path of aggression towards their neighbors, and the export of arms, fighters, and chaos, their future is going to be very cloudy indeed.”
The United States and the EU imposed sector-wide sanctions against Russia for the first time on Tuesday, going in particular after the energy and security sectors.
Americans and U.S. companies will now be banned from exporting energy exploration technology to Russia, limiting Moscow’s long-term energy prospects.
But the sanctions do not affect the natural gas market, and do not cut off energy trade, which is critical to Europe’s economy.
Fried called the energy measure “a very powerful sanction and one that hurts Russia far more it hurt us.”
“This is the first time that the West has imposed such sanctions on Russia since the end of the Cold War. These are strong steps. The European Union deserves to be commended for its strong stand and its leadership in this area.”