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EU threatens further sanctions against Russia

The European Union has announced it is ready to impose further sanctions against Russia in a week's time unless Moscow changes course in Ukraine.
"We are in a very serious, I would say, dramatic situation... where we can reach the point of no return.  If the escalation of the conflict continues, this point can come," outgoing European Commission President Manuel Barroso said at a joint press conference with Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko in Brussels Saturday. Barroso said he believed that it was not too late to find a political solution, while adding that the situation in Ukraine worsened considerably and Russia should not underestimate the European Union's will and resolve to stand by its principles and values.
"The opening of new fronts and use of regular Russian forces is not acceptable and represents a grave transgression," Barroso said.
"No one's interest is served by new wars on our continent. No one's interest is served by confrontation. This is simply not the way that responsible, proud nations should behave in the 21st century," he said.
At least 36 people are killed every day in eastern Ukraine as clashes continue, according to a report issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Friday. The report says that at least 2,220 people have been killed and 5,956 injured so far since clashes began in April, and at least 468 people remained detained by armed groups as of August 17. President Poroshenko said Ukraine was “subject to foreign military aggression and terror.”
He said thousands of foreign troops and hundreds of foreign tanks were in Ukrainian territory, constituting a very high risk for the peace and stability of not only Ukraine, but Europe as a whole.
There is not a military solution for the current conflict, Poroshenko said, reiterating Kiev’s "strong will for peace.”
European Council (EC) President Herman Van Rompuy said on Saturday the council was “extremely concerned by the intense fighting, the flows of fighters and weapons coming from Russia into eastern Ukraine, and the presence and actions of Russian armed forces on Ukrainian soil."
Noting that the situation has dramatically escalated in the past three days, Van Rompuy said that all efforts "must now be directed at stopping the bloodshed and avoiding the worst."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that new sanctions would be imposed unless Moscow reversed course, adding that "there can be no military solution to the conflict", and "all our efforts must go towards keeping the channels of communication open and reaching a mutually agreed ceasefire."
French President Francois Hollande said that if the situation deteriorated, it might lead to a war, and there was no time to waste.
Ukraine launched military operations in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in mid-April to restore government control after pro-Russian separatists declared independence in the region.
The conflict began following the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia in March.
The European Union agreed in late July to broaden the scope of economic sanctions against Russia, targeting financial, energy and military sectors in particular, and including an embargo on Russia’s future sales of firearms, as well as limits on trade of technology in mining, engineering and oil production.
Previous EU sanctions only targeted Ukrainian and Russian individuals -- presumed to be involved in the conflict in the east of the country -- with freezes on assets and bank accounts.

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