Some Russian and Ukrainian officials and other people may be blacklisted by the United States as the crisis in the Ukrainian region of Crimea drags on.
President Barack Obama on Thursday signed an executive order laying the groundwork for sanctions against people and entities responsible for the crisis.
The executive order provides the legal basis for sanctions against specific people and entities, though the U.S. would do so "based on the situation on the ground" in Ukraine, a senior administration official told CNN.
The sanctions could include visa bans and the freezing of assets under U.S. jurisdiction.
The blacklist would include those who "undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine," the executive order states.
The document also says it is aimed at those who threaten peace in Ukraine or its territorial integrity, misuse funds or threaten the security or foreign policy of the United States.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a prepared statement that the move was a response to "Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity - actions that constitute a threat to peace and security and a breach of international law."
No people or entities have been identified yet for sanctions.
The sanctions would include freezing assets, blocking property under U.S. jurisdiction and preventing U.S. businesses from doing business with any person or entity listed.