The European Union has threatened to expand its economic sanctions against Russia over the crisis in neighboring Ukraine.
On Sunday, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the 28-member bloc was working urgently on further restrictive measures.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said that the EU would decide on more Russian targets for sanctions within a week if the situation became more chaotic in Ukraine.
“We said that should there be a further escalation as we had actually experienced, we may need to take additional decisions. We mandated the Commission to prepare the grounds for measures that can be taken and they have to decide on that within a week,” Merkel said.
This comes shortly after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said his country was close to the “point of no return” in its conflict with Moscow.
The European leaders had gathered in Brussels to draw up new measures against Moscow. The EU has already warned that the escalating conflict in Ukraine is putting all of Europe at the risk of war.
Kiev and its Western allies accuse Russia of fueling the crisis in east Ukraine, but Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations and criticized its Western neighbor for the heavy crackdown on the pro-Russia protesters in the region.
The EU and Washington have imposed several rounds of sanctions against a number of Russian entities and individuals over its alleged involvement in the crisis in Ukraine.
In response, Russia has banned food imports from the EU, US, Canada, Australia, and Norway.
Since Kiev launched military operations to silence the pro-Russia protesters in mid-April, Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the country’s east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Moscow forces and the Ukrainian army.
Violence intensified in May after the two flashpoint regions of Donetsk and Luhansk held local referendums, in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.