U.S. working on sanctions responding to Russia annexation plans

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds the daily press briefing at the White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States is working with allies on sanctions to impose if Russia annexes new areas of Ukraine, and they will include penalties on individuals and entities inside and outside of Russia that support annexation, the White House said on Wednesday.

Washington is keeping a wary eye on Russia after pro-Russian forces in occupied areas of Ukraine conducted referendums this week.

President Joe Biden has condemned the referendums as sham votes and warned the United States will never recognize any annexation of these areas by Moscow.

"In response we will work with our allies and partners to impose additional economic costs on Russia and the individuals and entities inside and outside Russia that provide support to this action," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

She said the United States will rally global opposition to Russia’s attempts at annexation, including at the United Nations.

"Based on our information, every aspect of this referenda process was pre-staged and orchestrated by the Kremlin," she said.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Steve HollandEditing by Rami Ayyub and Leslie Adler)