Chancellor Angela Merkel has said it is time for the EU and the US to consider imposing new sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis. She said EU foreign ministers would meet to discuss the issue soon.
Chancellor Merkel told reporters in Berlin that she had used a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier on Friday, to call on him to implement the terms of a deal reached in Geneva aimed at reducing tensions.
She said she was convinced that the Kremlin could "put the separatists in eastern Ukraine on a peaceful path" and that she had pointed out to Putin that Kyiv had already taken "a series of steps" towards implementing the agreement.
Speaking alongside visiting Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Merkel also said that it was time for the European Union to consider stepping up sanctions on Russians and Ukrainians seen as stoking tensions in the current crisis. EU foreign ministers would meet “as soon as possible” to discuss the issue.
"We will have to act, and I think this will be a common European action, and a joint action of the G7 states," the chancellor said.
Conference call planned
Merkel was also planning to speak to other European leaders, as well as US President Barack Obama in the course of the day.
Speaking during a visit to South Korea, Obama confirmed that he would be speaking to a number of European leaders about the issue.
"I will be talking to the Europeans, not all of them, but some key European leaders again this evening, making sure they share my assessment in terms of what has happened since the Geneva talks," the US president told reporters in Seoul.
He also said the US already had plans for futher sanctions on Russia "that are ready to go."
pfd/jr (dpa, Reuters, AFP)