German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said “nobody should doubt” the European Union’s willingness to introduce tougher sanctions against Russia if it takes further steps to infringe the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Addressing a meeting of her Christian Democratic Party on April 5, Merkel said “We are all different in Europe, but we have the good fortune of being united, and together we will take this decision."
The EU and the United States have already imposed sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian individuals following Russia's annexation of Crimea.
At an informal EU meeting in Greece on April 5, EU foreign ministers pledged to continue dialogue with Russia to ease tensions.
However, the ministers again warned the EU must be ready to impose further sanctions on Russia if Moscow continues to threaten the region.
Speaking at the meeting, EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton said the EU will continue to consult with Russia as the bloc prepares to sign trade and political accords with former Soviet states Moldova and Georgia in June.
Some ministers said they were uneasy about how Russia could respond.
Amid concerns over steep price hikes Russia is imposing on Ukraine for Russian gas, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said it was not in Russia's interest to have a "collapsing state" on its border.
Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP