France has warned of “incalculable consequences” if the situation in Ukraine deteriorates, calling on Moscow and the pro-Russian protesters in Ukraine’s east in particular to deescalate the crisis.
The warning was made by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Sunday on French television and came on the eve of a meeting of EU ambassadors in Brussels,
seeking to adopt an additional list of sanctions, which would likely include measures such as asset freezes and travel bans.
The French minister also called the situation in Ukraine “very worrying,” and said, “We must appeal for a de-escalation, in particular by the Russians and the pro-Russians” in Ukraine.
In addition, Fabius said the EU ambassadors will at the meeting “prepare a new set of sanctions (against Moscow); the Americans are expected to reveal a new set of sanctions; and if things get even worse, there could be a third phase.”
The US Deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken said that Washington would on Monday release a new round of sanctions against Russia targeting its defense industry as well as individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has urged Moscow to pressure the pro-Russian protesters in Ukraine’s east to free the detained observers of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Self-defense forces detained eight foreign mediators together with five Ukrainians on April 25 in the city of Slavyansk, arguing that they were spying for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
On Sunday, captors presented the detained observers and Ukrainian security forces to more than 60 journalists in Slavyansk’s town hall to give assurances that they have not been mistreated.
The German foreign minister described the public parading of the detained observers as “revolting.”
Steinmeier’s comments came as one of the observers, a Swedish national, was released on medical grounds.