‘EU leaders warned Russia’s invasion of east Ukraine was at a “point of no return”, risking a “state of war” with Europe and instructed officials to prepare new sanctions to hit the Russian economy.
A summmit in Brussels on Saturday gave the green light to toughened economic sanctions, targeting Russia’s finances, oligarchs linked to the Russian president and the country’s vast mineral wealth.
Dalia Grybauskaite, Lithuania’s president and a staunch critic of Mr Putin’s Russia, called on the EU to get serious as Russia’s war in the Ukraine menaced peace in Europe for the first time in decades.
“Russia is in a state of war against Ukraine and that is against a country which wants to be part of Europe. Russia is practically in a state of war against Europe,” she said.
Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, said that the EU was prepared for new sanctions against and pleaded with Mr Putin to step back from the brink of outright war between Russia and the Ukraine
“We are in a very serious, I would say, dramatic situation. We may see a situation where we reach the point of no return. If the escalation of the conflict continues, this point of no return can come,” he said following a meeting with Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s President.
“The opening of new fronts and the use of Russian regular forces is not acceptable and represents a grave transgression. No one’s interest is served by new wars on our continent. No one’s interest is served by confrontation.”
President Poroshenko, who held talks with David Cameron in the wings of the EU summit, appealed to EU leaders not to stand by while his country became “subject to foreign military aggression and terror” from Russia.
“Today we are talking about the fate of Ukraine, but tomorrow it could be the fate of security and stability of all of Europe,” he said.’