Thursday, EU leaders met for a short summit to assess diplomacy’s chances of cutting through the Ukraine conflict and discuss what sanctions should be imposed in the event Russia invades its neighbors.
The summit came one day before a two-day EU-Africa summit, which brought together the 27 EU leaders in Brussels. There were no plans to go into depth on what sanctions should be used or how they would affect the economies of member states at the meeting, officials said.
We have still hope that peace will prevail because diplomatic efforts have not yet reached their conclusion,” said EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.
Russian aggression would be met with massive sanctions if it invades Ukraine, and the EU has joined the United Kingdom and the United States in stating this.
von der Leyen called for Russia to provide tangible proof they are moving away from confrontation near the border with Ukraine before heading into the summit.
She said, “Now we hear from the Russians that they are pulling back troops, but so far there have been no signs of de-escalation on the ground.”
However, it appears that the buildup is continuing. Thus, we will not let our guard down. We need actions before we can trust the words we have heard.”
It was an important goal of the meeting to ensure that the bloc’s unity would not be harmed by potential sanctions, even if they hit some member countries more than others.