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Russian intervention in Ukraine would spark more sanctions: U.S. official

Protesters call for U.S. action against possible Russian incursions into Ukraine, in front of the White House in Washington March 1, 2014. R
Protesters call for U.S. action against possible Russian incursions into Ukraine, in front of the White House in Washington March 1, 2014. R

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Russian intervention into eastern or southern Ukraine would be the clearest trigger for additional sanctions, as would violence in Crimea, a U.S. official said on Monday.

"The biggest hammer that can drop is sectoral sanctions. The clearest trigger for those is (intervention in) eastern and southern Ukraine," the official said.

He said G7 leaders, at their meeting in The Hague, had discussed the need for NATO to provide reassurance and support for Eastern European allies. G7 leaders, he said, had discussed consequences to other states from potential sectoral sanctions on Russia, and had agreed that the costs would be worth it.

"The cost of inaction is far greater, given the threat to the international system," he said.

Leaders of the G7 said in a statement on Monday they were ready to intensify sanctions on Russia in case of a further destabilization of Ukraine, whose southeastern Crimea Peninsula was annexed by Moscow last week. They also agreed to meet as the G7 in Brussels in June rather than as the G8 in Sochi, Russia.

"You should see that as Russia being suspended from participation in the G8, pending the de-escalation and resolution of this crisis," the official said.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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