Kerry: Sanctions Against Russia Could ‘Get Ugly Fast’

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Obama to Meet With New Ukrainian Prime Minister as Crimea Vote Nears.

Secretary of State John Kerry, right, meets with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at the State Department.

Secretary of State John Kerry told U.S. lawmakers Wednesday that Russia “may well” annex the Ukrainian region of Crimea, and warned that the U.S. response through punitive sanctions “can get ugly fast.”

The admonition came as President Barack Obama planned to meet Ukraine’s new prime minister Wednesday in a show of U.S. support and as Mr. Kerry mapped another diplomatic trip for talks with Russian officials before a referendum Sunday that could decide whether the Ukrainian region of Crimea will break away and join Russia.

Mr. Kerry, meeting with House lawmakers, noted the U.S. was readying a raft of punitive sanctions, including “visa sanctions, banking sanctions, targeted business sanctions” and other individual measures.

“I don’t want to go into all of the detail, except to say this: It can get ugly fast [if] the wrong choices are made,” he said. “And it can get ugly in multiple directions.”

The Group of Seven leading industrialized nations, in a separate statement Wednesday, opposed any annexation of Crimea as a violation of international principles. The G-7 leaders threatened to “take further action, individually and collectively” if Moscow supports Sunday’s vote but stopped short of explicitly threatening sanctions.

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