US official: Focus on max cost to Russia if no change on Ukraine

PARIS Wed May 7, 2014 7:57am EDT

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PARIS May 7 (Reuters) - Washington hopes Russia will change its tune on Ukraine and is working with others to ensure that sanctions will cost Moscow dearly if it does not, U.S. Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said on Wednesday.

Briefing journalists in Paris during a tour of European capitals, Cohen said: "We are moving in a strong and systematic way to maximise the cost on Russia ... while minimising to the extent possible the spillover on other economies including those here in Europe."

The United States and European countries all agreed that the principle of having to sanction Russia was more important than the inevitable collateral impact on U.S. or EU business, Cohen said.

The Obama administration is working on new sanctions that would be imposed on Russia should it dramatically ramp up aggression against Ukraine through measures such as preventing elections from taking place in much of the country or recognizing another separatist referendum. (Reporting by Ingrid Melander; Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Andrew Callus)

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