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Where Would Increased U.S., EU Sanctions on Russia Leave Energy Investors in Ukr

The EU and the US say they will impose "further costs" on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, as unrest continues in the east of the country. Tension has been rising in eastern Ukraine, with pro-Russian activists occupying buildings in more towns. On 14 April White House spokesman Jay Carney warned that Russia's actions "will come with a cost,'' which has Western energy companies deeply invested in Russia, such as Exxon Mobil and BP, increasingly nervous.

While Russia denies stoking unrest in eastern Ukraine, British Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters that he believed seizures of official buildings in eastern Ukrainian towns and cities "is something that is being planned and brought about by Russia."

From the Kremlin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov the same day denied allegations that Russian agents had been fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine and added that he was seeking an explanation from the U.S. about a 12 April visit by CIA director John Brennan to Kiev.

So far, the limited European Union economic sanctions imposed because of Russia's annexation of Crimea do not cover Russian oil companies. President Obama has approved but not put into effect sanctions aimed at sectors of Russia's economy that include those of petroleum companies. Possible energy sanctions clearly worry the Kremlin, as oil and petroleum products represent more than two-thirds of Russian export earnings, and they finance just over half of the federal budget. The…

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