Russia has warned that it would react if the European Union imposed fresh economic sanctions against Moscow over its role in the Ukraine crisis. The warning comes one day after Kyiv and separatists reached a truce deal.
Russia's foreign ministry on Saturday warned the EU that Moscow would react if new sanctions are imposed.
"As for the new list of sanctions from the European Union, if they are passed, there will undoubtedly be a reaction from our side," the ministry said in a statement.
The EU announced the additional measures late on Friday after a ceasefire was signed in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, between the Ukrainian government and rebels. However, the EU said the new sanctions could be suspended if the Kremlin withdraws its troops from Ukraine and observes the newly agreed truce. If this does not happen, the sanctions are due to be implemented on Monday.
However, Russia said the EU should stop "feverishly searching for ways to hurt the economies of its own countries and Russia," and instead focus on economic revival in eastern Ukraine.
The new sanctions include adding a further two dozen people to a list of people barred from entry to the 28-nation bloc and whose assets are frozen.
Also on Friday, NATO approved the formation of a rapid response force of thousands of soldiers to maintain a presence across eastern European nations which feared facing a similar situation to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the ceasefire deal which was aimed at ending five months of fighting, appears to be holding in eastern Ukraine after going into effect at 6:00 p.m. (1500 UTC) on Friday.
"It is, at the most, a beginning of the end of the crisis," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Saturday's edition of Germany's "Bild" newspaper, adding that whether or not the weapons would be silenced permanently would depend on the will of Moscow and Kyiv to resolve the remaining open questions politically.
hc/lw (Reuters, AFP)