German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that European leaders will discuss imposing new sanctions on Russia at an EU Summit in Brussels on Saturday (30 August). The summit was initially planned to decide top job appointments.
Merkel’s comments come after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that Russian troops had entered Ukraine. The conflict is worsening, as pro-Russian separatists are reportedly advancing in the east part of the country with the active support of Russian forces.
“We made it clear in March this year that if there were a further escalation, more sanctions would have to be discussed. So the issue will be on the agenda at the summit and we will have to ask ourselves how we will react,” the German Chancellor told a news conference on Thursday after talks with Balkan leaders.
“We are receiving reports that Russian soldiers’ presence has been increased and new unrest and new advances of the separatists in regions that until now were very quiet,” Merkel said.
Only two days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart met for the first time since June, agreeing to work towards launching a peace process.
According to EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton, who was also in Belarus to back the talks, the meeting between both leaders was “cordial but positive”.
“There was a sense in which the onus was on everyone to see if they could do their best to try to resolve this,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters on Tuesday in Minsk.
Merkel met European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and several Balkan leaders at the Western Balkans Summit hosted by the German government in Berlin.