Russia said on Monday that moves by some Western nations to ban Russian oil imports would have "catastrophic" consequences, with the warning from a senior official deepening concerns about the economic fallout from actions taken against Moscow as more talks with Ukraine brought no results.
In the United States, which has been at the forefront of sanctions against Russia following its military operation in Ukraine, lawmakers in the House of Representatives and the Senate on Monday agreed on legislation to ban energy imports from the country. Last month Germany halted certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, an $11-billion project built to double the supply of Russian gas to Europe's biggest economy.
"A ban on Russian oil will lead to catastrophic consequences for the global market," Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said. "The surge in prices will be unpredictable-more than $300 per barrel, if not more."
Novak said that it would be "impossible" to quickly replace Russian oil on the European market.
"European politicians should then honestly warn their citizens, consumers what awaits them and that prices at gas stations, for electricity, for heating will skyrocket," he said.
He said that in retaliation for the suspension of the gas pipeline, Russia could stop supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. "So far we have not made this decision," he added.
The threat of more measures against Russia came as the third round of talks with Ukraine, held in Belarus on Monday evening, failed to yield results.
The chief of the Russian delegation, presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, and his counterpart, Ukrainian presidential office adviser Mikhail Podolyak, acknowledged that nothing arose from the meeting that might improve the security situation.
Both sides agreed to press on with negotiations, but no dates or venues have been proposed for a new round of talks.
Russia said on Monday that it would open humanitarian corridors for civilians to flee pummeled Ukrainian cities, but Kyiv accused Moscow of making it impossible for them to escape.
Russia's Defense Ministry said it would open the corridors from Tuesday morning, subject to Ukraine's approval.
The ministry proposed routes from Kyiv as well as the cities of Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy. Ukraine did not initially respond to the offer.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Monday it had received reports of artillery shells damaging a second nuclear facility in Kharkiv.
Because the research facility's "inventory of radioactive material is very low" and kept at a "subcritical" state, the IAEA said, "the damage reported to it would not have had any radiological consequence".