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France Says Russia Sanctions Could Be Imposed This Week

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (file photo)
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says European Union sanctions could be imposed on Russia as early as this week unless Moscow responds positively to Western proposals to calm the Ukrainian crisis.

Speaking on French radio, Fabius said that if Russia responds positively, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Moscow and sanctions won’t be imposed immediately.

But, he warned, if Moscow responds negatively, travel restrictions and sanctions targeting the assets of individual Russians could be imposed this week.

Fabius added that the referendum in Ukraine’s Crimea region planned for March 16 is illegitimate and the annexation of Crimea by Russia would be illegal.

Separately, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on a visit to Estonia, has offered assurances that the Baltic states will be protected from the crisis by their membership in NATO.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP