EU inches towards new sanctions
UKRAINE (AP):The European Union yesterday warned that the apparent incursion of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil pushes the conflict closer to a point of no return, with new economic sanctions being drawn up to make Moscow reconsider its position.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who briefed a summit of the 28-nation European Union's (EU) leaders in Brussels, said a strong response was needed to the "military aggression and terror" facing his country.
"Thousands of the foreign troops and hundreds of the foreign tanks are now on the territory of Ukraine," Poroshenko told reporters in English. "There is a very high risk not only for peace and stability for Ukraine, but for the whole peace and stability of Europe."
French President François Hollande and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said upon their arrival for the summit in Brussels the leaders will make a political decision and then ask the EU's executive arm to finalise the fine print of new sanctions.
However, because several EU nations fear the fallout of sanctions on their own economies, it wasn't immediately clear whether the required unanimity would be reached for immediate punitive measures, or whether the leaders would set Russia another ultimatum.
NATO estimates that at least 1,000 Russian soldiers are in Ukraine even though Russia denies any military involvement in the fighting that has so far claimed 2,600 lives, according to UN figures.