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EU may ease sanctions against Russia or toughen them - future foreign policy chief

October 07, 2014, 1:24 UTC+3 BRUSSELS

Federica Mogherini also said she is convinced that “the Ukrainian crisis has no military solution”.

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BRUSSELS, October 6. /TASS/. The European Union may “ease its sanctions regime against Russia should the situation in Ukraine improve or toughen it if the situation deteriorates,” outgoing Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, who will take office of the EU’s foreign policy chief November 1, said Monday.

Speaking at hearings in the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mogherini also said she is convinced that “the Ukrainian crisis has no military solution”.

She said the EU should constantly work with Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko and the new Ukrainian parliament that will be elected in a few weeks to support the efforts of Ukrainian diplomats.

“We should also back Ukraine’s economy, which is in a disastrous state shortly before the winter in the presence of the threat of an energy crisis, Mogherini said.

Mogherini has been approved for her new post by leaders of the 28 EU member states, but European deputies have to formally confirm her appointment.

Russia came under Western sanctions, originally visa bans and asset freezes, for incorporation of Crimea in mid-March after a coup in Ukraine in February. Later, Western claims that Russia is taking part in hostilities in southeast Ukraine, which Moscow has repeatedly denied, resulted in more serious, sectoral, restrictions.

In response, Moscow imposed on August 6 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the EU, the United States and Norway.

The UN says some 3,500 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s war-torn southeast as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR).

The EU and the United States imposed the latest batch of sectoral sanctions on Russia on September 12 despite a deal on a ceasefire, signed in Minsk a week before, between Kiev and the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR in the southeast of Ukraine.

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