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Russian oil exec defiant in face of sanctions

Tuesday - 3/18/2014, 11:00am  ET

Local people wave Russian and Crimean flags in Simferopol, Ukraine, on Monday, March 17, 2014. Ukraine's Crimean peninsula declared itself independent Monday after its residents voted overwhelmingly to secede and join Russia, while the United States and the European Union slapped sanctions against some of those who promoted the divisive referendum. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

MOSCOW (AP) -- The chief executive of Russia's largest oil company and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin has spoken defiantly of possible sanctions by Western powers against him, threatening to move business elsewhere.

The United States and the European Union announced Monday asset freezes and visa bans against Russian and Ukrainian officials involved in the Crimean crisis. They are considering broadening those sanctions to include more individuals, possibly also the CEO of oil company Rosneft, Igor Sechin.

Sechin told Russia news agencies on Tuesday that he is not afraid of potential sanctions, calling them "evidence of powerlessness."

Rosneft and Russian companies should not fear sanctions either, Sechin insisted, saying "Russian companies can move their business elsewhere" away from the U.S. and Europe.

Russia is a major oil supplier for Europe.


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