EU is keeping the threat of sanctions over Russia, if it fails to take actions to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine. At a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels, the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton condemned Russia’s “act of aggression”.
“We need to see a return to barracks of those troops who currently have moved out of where they have, under the agreement with Ukraine, been staying,” she explained to the packed press room, continuing “I think there are serious concerns about all the flights, there are serious concerns about reports of troops and armoured personnel moving in different places. But I think its clear we want to see the situation deescalate to the position that troops had before this began, and that is very clear.”
EU leaders will be summoned to Brussels on Thursday to follow-up.
Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir had strong words for both sides before the meeting on Monday.
“Twenty five years after the end of the Soviet era there is a new and real danger of a divide in Europe,” he declared, adding “I am asking, is this the day when the message has to be very clear -towards Russia that military activities are totally unacceptable and towards the Ukrainian government to respect minorities rights in eastern Ukraine.”
Speaking to French media, foreign minister Laurent Fabius put the blame more clearly in the Russian camp.
“It’s always kind of the same approach by the Russians. The Russians consider that countries which belonged to their empire at one point or another should not be out of their certain control,” he explained.
In Vienna the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were attempting to send a monitoring mission to Ukraine. The US have called on Moscow to allow observers access in order to prevent the situation from escalating.