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Brussels’ sanctions decision to become test for entire EU — Poland's FM

July 15, 2014, 20:50 UTC+3 WARSAW
“Over a few weeks, it seemed that the situation is gradually stabilizing, but now it is deteriorating again,” Radoslaw Sikorski noted
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WARSAW, July 15. /ITAR-TASS/. Sanctions against Russia that Brussels may impose over the recent developments in Ukraine will become a test for the entire European Union, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said Tuesday.

Sikorski, who was speaking at a press conference prior to departure for Kiev for talks with the Ukrainian leadership, said the issue of sanctions against Russia will be discussed during an EU summit due Wednesday.

“Formats of sanctions to be imposed by the EU over unprecedented events in eastern Ukraine will become a test for the entire EU,” he said.

“Over a few weeks, it seemed that the situation is gradually stabilizing, but now it is deteriorating again,” the minister said.

“There is a conflict between our neighbors that no more looks like terrorist activity but looks like a war, although not in its active phase, in which hundreds of people die,” Sikorski said. “This affects our sense of security.”

The Polish foreign minister said during today’s visit to Kiev he plans to obtain information on what is going on in Ukraine first hand to then submit a report to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk ahead of his departure for the Brussels summit.

Earlier it was reported that Sikorski will meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Ukrainian parliament-appointed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.

Western nations have subjected some Russian officials and companies to targeted sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, following Crimea’s incorporation by Russia in mid-March.

Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

The West, led by the United States, has threatened Russia with further punitive measures, including economic ones, for incorporation of Crimea and what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in protests of federalization supporters in Ukraine’s embattled south-east.

Russia has repeatedly dismissed Western allegations that it could in any way be involved in protests in the Southeast of Ukraine, which started after Crimea refused to recognize the authorities propelled to power during a coup in Ukraine in February and reunified with Russia in mid-March after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.

Moscow has rejected the threats of broader sanctions saying the language of penalties is counterproductive and will strike back at Western countries.

Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.

During the military operation, conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. According to Ukraine’s Health Ministry, 478 civilians have been killed and 1,392 wounded in it. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s war-torn Southeast.

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