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He said that a meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives was scheduled for 12:00 hours Central European Time. Its participants were expected to consider and draft a new package of sanctions against Russia but after that the member-states would have the final say on whether or not to adopt the sanctions "with due account of local events".
The phrase ‘local events’ refers first and foremost to Friday’s meeting of the Contact Group for Eastern Ukraine, which includes representatives of the Kiev government, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). They are meeting in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, to discuss a plan for settling the conflict in southeastern Ukraine.
A peace plan consisting of seven points, which Russian President Vladimir Putin announced during a visit to Mongolia after a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, was published at the Kremlin’s official website on Wednesday.
It stipulates the ending of active offensive operations on both sides in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas, withdrawal of Ukrainian armed units to a distance that would make the shelling of populated localities impossible, a full and objective international monitoring of the ceasefire, ruling out of the use of military aircraft against civilians and populated areas, exchanges of the individuals detained by force on an “all for all” basis, opening of corridors for refugees and for deliveries of humanitarian aid, and the setting up of conditions for repair works in the population centers affected by combat actions.
Poroshenko told a NATO summit in Wales on Thursday that the units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces taking part in the punitive operation in the rebellious Donetsk and Luhansk regions would get an order to cease fire at 11:00 hours GMT if a step-by-step peace plan would have been signed in Minsk.
Earlier on Thursday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke out for "deeper, broader, tougher sanctions" against Russia.
Talking about the ways to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, he noted that no one wanted a war or an armed conflict. “We do believe that the best way forward is to find a political solution. And to facilitate such a political solution, I firmly believe that the international community must respond determinately if Russia was to intervene further in Ukraine,” he said, adding that it would be necessary to “respond through deeper, broader, tougher economic sanctions that would definitely hurt Russian economy and isolate Russia further”.
In addition, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that NATO member states were ready "to enforce our political demands over Ukraine with additional sanctions" against Russia.
September 5, the European Commission will dicuss the issue of imposing further sanctions on Russia in Brussels.