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Obama: US, Germany prepared to impose broader sanctions if Ukrainian instability continues

President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel participate in a joint news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 2, 2014. Obama and Merkel are putting on a display of trans-Atlantic unity against an assertive Russia, even as sanctions imposed by Western allies seem to be doing little to change Russian President Vladimir Putin's reasoning on Ukraine. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

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President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel participate in a joint news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 2, 2014. Obama and Merkel are putting on a display of trans-Atlantic unity against an assertive Russia, even as sanctions imposed by Western allies seem to be doing little to change Russian President Vladimir Putin's reasoning on Ukraine. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON - 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 are not 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.

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