WASHINGTON, Jan 12 (Reuters) – The United States is looking at a range of contingency options to help Ukraine should Russia cut off energy supplies, a senior Biden administration official said on Wednesday.
The official, who spoke to a small group of reporters on condition of anonymity, said the United States is confident that European allies will agree to impose severe economic penalties on Russia if Moscow invades Ukraine.
As European officials have become increasingly aware of the severity of the threat that would result from a Russian invasion of Ukraine, they have become "more forthright" about the need for a strong response, the official said.
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With Ukraine's energy supply potentially severed and Europe's also impacted from a Ukraine invasion, the official said U.S. officials are aware of the potential impact of a reduction in the Russian energy supply.
"We are working very hard to identify and manage those risks with a range of contingency options and we are doing that all that in very close consultations with Europe," the official said.
The official declined to detail the options, but a source familiar with the discussions noted there is above-average inventory of natural gas in Asia and that Norway is a major producer of liquefied natural gas. The Netherlands, Italy and Qatar also have supplies, as well as the United States, the source said.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comRegisterReporting By Steve Holland
Editing by Nick Zieminski