Subscribe

EU holds off on new Russian sanctions until Minsk meeting on Ukraine

The EU foreign ministers are throwing their weight behind fresh diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in Ukraine.

  • close
    Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, left, speaks with British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond during a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 9, 2015.
    Virginia Mayo/AP
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

The European Union decided Monday to hold off temporarily on slapping sanctions on more Russians and Ukrainian separatists and await the outcome of possible peace talks later this week.

With the leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine due to hold negotiations in Minsk, Belarus, on Wednesday, the EU has held off placing asset freezes and travel bans on 19 more individuals, including five Russians, for their actions in eastern Ukraine. It said the situation would be reviewed Monday.

"The principle of the sanctions is maintained but the application will depend on what happens on the ground," said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. "We will see if the meeting has taken place, what kind of results there are. And then we will be able to draw conclusions."

The EU foreign ministers are throwing their weight behind fresh diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in Ukraine, rejecting calls by some US politicians to provide lethal defensive weapons to Kiev.

But German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier cautioned that the Minsk meeting is not set in stone yet. He said diplomats from all sides were meeting Monday behind closed doors in Berlin to try to pave the way.

"We hope that the outstanding issues can be resolved to a point that a Minsk meeting would hold some promise and can produce the first steps toward defusing the situation and a cease-fire," he told reporters in Brussels, adding "(but) it's not yet certain."

As the debate continued in Washington on whether to send weapons to the embattled Ukrainian military, most EU ministers said now is not the time to risk escalating tensions.

"We do not see this as progress. It would be easy for the Russians to immediately compensate for that," said Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders.

Britain as well agreed to hold off for now.

"The UK is not intending to supply lethal weaponry to Ukraine at this point in time," Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK