* Gazprom, Rosneft chiefs on sanctions list - Bild
* Russia sends more troops into Crimea
* Moscow stock market falls again
By Andrew Osborn and Lina Kushch
SEVASTOPOL/DONETSK, Ukraine, March 14 Dozens of
Russians linked to Russia's gradual takeover of Crimea could
face U.S. and EU travel bans and asset freezes on Monday, after
six hours of crisis talks between Washington and Moscow ended
with both sides still far apart.
Moscow shipped more troops and armour into Crimea on Friday
and repeated its threat to invade other parts of Ukraine in
response to violence in Donetsk on Thursday night despite
Western demands to pull back.
EU diplomats will choose from a long list of 120-130
possible Russian targets for sanctions on Sunday, as pro-Moscow
authorities who have taken power in Crimea hold a vote to join
Russia in the worst East-West confrontation since the Cold War.
Several diplomats dismissed a German newspaper report that
said the list would include the heads of Russia's two biggest
companies, energy giants Gazprom and Rosneft.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Russia would be
guilty of a backdoor annexation of Crimea if its parliament
ratified the Crimea referendum, which is taking place after an
armed takeover of Crimea and gives voters no chance to say "no".
He has warned Moscow that U.S. and EU sanctions could be
imposed as soon as Monday, although U.S. officials said after
Kerry's marathon meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov in London on Friday the door was still open for more
Lavrov played down his own ministry's threats, saying Moscow
had no plans to invade Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, where
pro-Moscow groups have occupied some government buildings.
But he said Russia would respect the referendum result.
Preliminary partial results are expected late on Sunday, with
final results on Tuesday.
STOCK MARKET FALLS
Russia's stock markets tumbled and the cost of insuring its
debt soared on the last day of trading before the Crimea vote.
Brent crude oil rose by more than $1 as traders worried the
crisis was set to escalate.
Foreign holdings of U.S. Treasuries have also plunged this
week, leading some traders to speculate Russia has cut its
dollar reserves to support the rouble and avoid any sanctions.
An EU diplomat said he expected the final list of those who
could be sanctioned on Monday to be between "tens and scores" of
people from the list, which runs to five pages.
Germany's Bild newspaper reported that Alexei Miller, boss
of natural gas monopoly Gazprom, and Igor Sechin, head
of Russia's biggest oil firm, Rosneft, would be among
those targeted, along with senior ministers and Kremlin aides.
Reuters was not immediately able to confirm the Bild report
and European diplomats said the choice had not yet been made and
was unlikely to include business leaders.
"(Business interests) is not the target initially, the focus
is on the political decision that has been taken to act in
Crimea and destabilise Ukraine," said one diplomat involved in
Rosneft spokesman Mikhail Leontyev said sanctions on his
firm's boss would be "stupid, petty and obvious sabotage of
themselves most of all. I think it will primarily affect
Rosneft's business partners in the West in an extraordinary
way." Gazprom and the Kremlin declined to comment.
A U.N. Security Council resolution drafted by the United
States declaring that the referendum "can have no validity" will
be put to a vote on Saturday. Russia is expected to veto it but
Western diplomats hope China will isolate Moscow by abstaining.
Kerry told Lavrov Russia should explain its intentions for
the large number of Russian forces massing on the eastern border
with Ukraine, where many ethnic Russians live, and in Crimea.
The Russian Foreign Ministry, responding to the death of at
least one protester in Ukraine's eastern city of Donetsk,
repeated President Vladimir Putin's declaration of the right to
invade to protect Russian citizens and "compatriots".
"Russia is aware of its responsibility for the lives of
compatriots and fellow citizens in Ukraine and reserves the
right to take people under its protection," it said, alluding to
what it says are threats from Ukraine's new pro-Western leaders.
Ukrainian health authorities say one 22-year-old man was
stabbed to death and at least 15 others were being treated in
hospital after clashes in Donetsk, the mainly Russian-speaking
home city of Ukraine's ousted President Viktor Yanukovich.
Organisers of the anti-Moscow demonstration said the dead
man was from their group and the new pro-Western governor of
Donetsk said Russians were behind the clashes.
Moscow denies that its forces are intervening in Crimea, an
assertion Washington ridicules as "Putin's fiction". Journalists
have seen Russian forces operating openly in their thousands
over the past two weeks, driving in armoured columns of vehicles
with Russian licence plates and identifying themselves to
besieged Ukrainian troops as members of Russia's armed forces.
A Reuters reporter watched a Russian warship unload trucks,
troops and at least one armoured personnel carrier at Kazachaya
bay near Sevastopol on Friday morning. Trucks drove off a ramp
from the Yamal 156, a large landing ship that can carry more
than 300 troops and up to a dozen APCs.
In nearby Simferopol, around 300 Tatars protested against
the referendum. Tatars, a majority in Crimea until Soviet leader
Josef Stalin deported them en masse for alleged collaboration
with the Nazis in World War Two, are strongly anti-Russian.
FACTS ON THE GROUND
Russian troops seized the Black Sea peninsula two weeks ago
as a pro-Moscow regional government took power there. The new
regional authorities intend to secede from Ukraine and join
Russia in a vote described in the West as illegal.
Putin declared on March 1 that Russia had the right to
invade its neighbour, a week after its ally Yanukovich fled the
Ukrainian capital following three months of demonstrations that
ended with about 100 people killed in the final days.
The Defence Ministry said on Friday it would hold exercises
with fighter jets and helicopters over the Mediterranean sea. On
Thursday it announced artillery drills near Ukraine's border.
U.S. and EU sanctions on Russian officials and other figures
are now seen as inevitable. A formal EU decision to impose
sanctions will be taken on Monday unless Moscow rapidly changes
U.S. and European officials say the targets will not include
Putin or Lavrov, and an east European diplomat said the EU might
impose sanctions on one set of people on Monday, and add others
on Wednesday and during an EU summit on Thursday and Friday.
"It could start by sanctioning those directly involved with
the situation in Crimea. Then if Russia doesn't respond, expand
to include senior figures in the Russian Senate, and then
ultimately expand to include very senior people," the diplomat
Bild's list included Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Deputy
Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, presidential administration chief
Sergei Ivanov and the secretary of the National Security
Council, Nikolai Patrushev.
SHARES FALL, DEBT INSURANCE COSTS RISE
Russia's MICEX stock index has lost more than 16 percent of
its value in the two weeks since Putin declared his right to
invade. The cost of insuring Russia's debt against default is
now up by half since the crisis began.
Although Russian public opinion, fed by overwhelmingly
state-controlled media, is still solidly behind the plan to
annex Crimea, Western countries believe sanctions could
undermine support for Putin among the wealthy elite.
Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told Russian media
that the threat of Western sanctions was already imposing higher
borrowing costs on Russian businesses and that further sanctions
would push capital flight to $50 billion a quarter.
Renaissance Capital estimated capital outflow in the first
quarter would exceed $55 billion, compared with $63 billion for
the whole of 2013.
The rouble has declined only slightly despite the fall in
share prices, held aloft by a central bank that raised its
lending rates on March 3 and has been spending reserves to keep
the currency from falling.