WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says the United States and Germany are preparing to impose sanctions on Russia's economic sectors if destabilization continues in Ukraine.
Obama says he hopes not to have to use such sanctions, but will if Russia's disruptions threaten Ukraine elections scheduled for May 25.
So far, the U.S. has slapped sanctions on individuals but hasn't targeted entire economic sectors, such as Russia's energy sector. The sector sanctions could harm U.S. allies in Europe that do business with Russia, like Germany.
Obama spoke at a news conference Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Merkel says sanctions on sectors of the economy aren't her preference, but she's prepared to implement them. She says first her focus will be on trying to ensure the Ukrainian elections go on.