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Poroshenko: EU Ready For Sanctions, Conditional To Progress On Peace Plan

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says the EU summit in Brussels has agreed to prepare new sanctions on Russia, conditional on progress of his peace plan.

Speaking at a press conference in Brussels as EU leaders meet on August 30, he also said he thinks the crisis over Russia's intervention in Ukraine is "very close to the point of no return, [of) full-scale war."

He said he hoped the contact group meeting on September 1 with Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE in Minsk could result in a cease-fire.

Separately, Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier on August 30 in a telephone talk with Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka that it was important to organize consultations of the contact group in Minsk with the participation of representatives of Kyiv, of Ukraine's southeastern regions, the OSCE, and Russia.

'Consequences' For Russia

Going into the meeting on August 30, several leaders said the European Union must be ready to impose new sanctions on Moscow if it does not stop intervening in Ukraine.

French President Francois Hollande said EU leaders will likely agree to pave the way for new sanctions if it continues to allow arms and troops to cross the Ukrainian border.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said that "we have to address the completely unacceptable situation of having Russian troops on Ukrainian soil."

He added, "Consequences must follow" if that situation continues."

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said that Russia is at war with Ukraine and so effectively at war with Europe.

She called on Europe to supply Kyiv with military equipment.

Barroso: We Don't Want Cold War

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told a joint news conference with Poroshenko earlier on August 30 in Brussels that he would propose a broad range of options to member states "in case the member states decide to go for further levels of sanctions."

Barroso added that the EU was "keeping our doors open to a political solution" and that any tightening of sanctions was intended not to escalate the crisis but to push Moscow to negotiate.

"Sanctions or restrictive measures are just ways, means, or instruments to show to the Russian leadership that the current situation is not acceptable and that we urge them to come to reason, to work constructively," he said.

The EU, he said, did not want a "new Cold War," saying such a scenario would be "detrimental" to all of Europe.

He said the Ukrainian crisis was "very serious" and the situation was heading toward a "point of no return."

Poroshenko, condemning Russian intervention in his country, said there were now thousands of foreign troops and hundreds of foreign tanks in Ukraine.

"Unfortunately this visit comes in extremely difficult circumstances for my country, despite the consolidated international efforts and our strive for peace, Ukraine is now a subject of foreign military aggression and terror," Poroshenko said, speaking ahead of a summit meeting with European Union leaders.

Poroshenko said he expected to see progress toward peace in the east of the country in the coming days.

EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton, speaking after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Milan, expressed "deep concern about the recent aggression against Ukraine by regular Russian military forces."

Ashton called for "a sustainable political solution that respects Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty."

NATO has charged that Moscow now has 1,000 troops fighting in support of separatist forces in eastern Ukraine and had shipped in large amounts of heavy weaponry.

Russia denies its soldiers are fighting in Ukraine.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and ITAR-TASS
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