EU Weighs Increasing Russia Sanctions 08/29 06:18
European Union foreign ministers on Friday were set to weigh adopting a
tougher stance on the Ukraine crisis amid increasing calls to beef up economic
sanctions against Russia.
MILAN (AP) -- European Union foreign ministers on Friday were set to weigh
adopting a tougher stance on the Ukraine crisis amid increasing calls to beef
up economic sanctions against Russia.
The meeting of the EU's 28 top diplomats in Milan came a day after NATO said
Russia has already slipped about 1,000 soldiers and much heavy weaponry into
Ukraine, a development that funneled fears of a wider invasion.
The United States and the EU have imposed sanctions against dozens of
Russian officials, several firms and the country's financial industry. Moscow
has retaliated by banning food imports. President Barack Obama said Thursday
Russia's support for rebel combatants in eastern Ukraine must incur "more costs
However, the EU ministers weren't expected to make a decision on new
sanctions. Instead, their discussions were set to prepare possible further
steps that could be announced at a summit of the bloc's 28 leaders Saturday.
In what appeared to be a last-minute bid for more support and tougher action
on Russia, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is set to meet the head of the
EU's executive Commission, President Jose Manuel Barroso, and summit chairman
Herman Van Rompuy in Brussels Saturday a few hours before the summit.
New EU sanctions against Russia would have to be agreed unanimously --- a
requirement that has in the past blocked tougher action as some nations fear
the economic fallout of sanctions. Russia is the EU's third-largest trading
partner and one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers.
The fighting between Ukrainian military forces and Russian-backed
separatists in eastern Ukraine has already claimed at least 2,200 lives,
according to U.N. figures.
The two-day foreign ministers' meeting was also set to feature discussion
about the situation in Gaza and the crises engulfing Syria and Iraq.