WASHINGTON - European leaders were giving more consideration to broad sanctions against sectors of the Russian economy after pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine held monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a US official said.
"We have noticed a distinct uptick in the last three days from major European capitals in continuing to look very hard at sectoral (sanctions) in response to the egregious treatment of the ... monitors in Slaviansk," a US official told reporters.
The OSCE had sent unarmed monitors to try to encourage compliance with a peace deal. The rebels seized them and have been holding them at a fortified redoubt in the town of Slaviansk.
Another official, speaking to reporters on a conference call, said the United States would ensure that its refusal to recognize Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula was not simply rhetorical.