Russia should be under no illusions that the EU is willing to pass tough economic sanctions against Moscow if the situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate, EU foreign ministers have warned.
At a meeting in Luxembourg, they urged President Vladimir Putin to accept a peace plan put forward by his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko.
EU diplomats had already said they would be closely monitoring Russian behaviour to see whether heads of state and government would decide to pass further sanctions when they meet for another summit in Belgium.
EU diplomat say the option “remains on the table.”
A total of 61 individuals from Russia, eastern Ukraine, and Crimea have been hit with EU travel bans and asset freezes over the crisis.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
“By Friday, we will be able to see how Russia is responding to the peace plan. How the meetings over the next few fays have gone, but Russia should be in doubt; President Putin should be in no doubt that in the European Union we are ready to take those measures.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin attended the roundtable talks in Luxembourg to brief the European Union on Poroshenko’s peace plan to end the conflict.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt welcomed the ceasefire, but said more work was needed on the part of Russia.
“On the Russian side, while they have welcomed the Ukrainian ceasefire, they are conducting the propaganda war with full speed ahead, and there are no signs of them closing the border,” said Bildt. “I don’t know if Russian citizens are normally equipped with T64s . But citizens with T64s are coming across the border (with Ukraine) and any normal border check would probably see that.”
Our correspondent in Luxembourg said:
The calls for Moscow to accept the Ukrainian government’s peace plan may prove to be wishful thinking. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has already described it as "an ultimatum".
“He wants there to be negotiations with the (armed) separatists; that’s something that President Poroshenko has already categorically ruled out.”