By Daphne Psaledakis
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A delegation of senior U.S. officials is in Europe this week to discuss coordinating potential sanctions and export-control measures the United States and its allies could take in the event that Russia invades Ukraine, an administration official told Reuters on Monday.
The delegation, which includes Treasury, State and Commerce department officials, will travel to the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Germany to meet with counterparts, the official said, as the United States prepares punitive actions against Russia if its military crosses into Ukraine.
Russia has deployed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders but denies planning an invasion.
In addition to discussing what actions should be taken in response to an invasion, the officials will focus on how the countries would make such moves, including what authorities the countries have and if they are to pass new legislation, the official said.
The delegation includes the Treasury Department’s Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Elizabeth Rosenberg; Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration Thea Kendler; and the State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Molly Montgomery.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan cautioned on Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin could order an attack on Ukraine within days or weeks.
The United States, with its allies, has threatened extensive economic sanctions against Russia should it invade. These could include financial sanctions as well as export-control measures.
U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo on Sunday said any sanctions would hit Putin and Russian elites hard given their reliance on Europe, which is Russia’s largest trading partner, and the U.S. dollar.
(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Mary Milliken and Howard Goller)