Officials in the U.S. and European Union are playing down the prospect of punishing Russia with sanctions targeting entire industries, opting instead to focus on tightening pressure by targeting more individuals and companies.
Policy makers say they are concerned that broad-brush sanctions on Russia's energy and financial industries, the two areas mentioned as possible targets, risk provoking economically costly retaliation by Russia.
"The Europeans don't want to have a clear, transparent move to sectoral sanctions," said Robert Kahn, a senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. "What we might see therefore is sort of creeping into sectoral sanctions through the naming of the specific firms, so it wouldn't be necessarily the whole sector or all transactions, but it would be partial."
The U.S. must maintain pressure on its European allies to toughen sanctions, said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a non-profit group that focuses on national security issues.
"There is no substitute for U.S. leadership for, without it, Europe will continue to dither," he said. "Washington needs to continue to create a U.S. secondary sanctions architecture that increases the risk premium for international companies in their dealings with Russia. This will also force the EU to develop its own made-in-Europe sanctions that will be more timely and forceful than they would otherwise be."