EU Leaders Give Russia 7 Days to Reverse Course in Ukraine or Face New Sanctions
The EU has threatened to expand sanctions against Russia in a week unless it takes steps to alleviate tension in Ukraine.
The EU leaders have issued a joint statement demanding that Russia "immediately withdraw all its military assets and forces from Ukraine."
Speaking after a Saturday summit in Brussels, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the European Commission had been tasked with preparing further restrictive measures which were to be presented in a week.
Van Rompuy, as cited by the BBC News, said the EU "stands ready to take further significant steps in light of the evolution of the situation on the ground,” adding that it was clear that the current state of affairs necessitated swift actions. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko warned his country was "close to a point of no return - full scale-war" with Russia.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said expanding sanctions against Russia was inevitable unless the situation improved significantly. She made clear that the new restrictive measures would involve areas which the EC had already discussed, including energy and the financial sector.
The US welcomed the latest move of the EU.
"We welcome the European Council's consensus today to show strong support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and to prepare further sanctions for consideration in coming days," White House National Security Spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.
“We are working closely with the EU and other partners to hold Russia accountable for its illegal actions in Ukraine, including through additional economic sanctions,” she said.
“We remain committed to supporting Ukraine as it seeks a diplomatic resolution to the crisis and call on Russia to immediately remove its military, including troops and equipment, from Ukraine and end its illicit support to the separatists,” the US official noted.
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