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EU leaders push Ukrainian diplomacy, show unity on sanctions

But as the unanimity of the 27 is necessary to impose sanctions, any demonstration of unity is welcome for the bloc.

“Sanctions require the unanimity of member states,” said EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell. “This unit is there to use,” he said, and when asked if it included the often recalcitrant Hungary, he added “I said, all of them.”

The main objective of the meeting was to ensure that even if potential sanctions hurt some member countries more than others, they would not affect the unity of the bloc.

Borrell insisted that if there were to be Russian aggression against Ukraine, he would immediately summon the EU’s 27 foreign ministers to a special council “to come up with the sanctions package.” And I’m sure that even when unanimity is required, the council will approve them.

The EU joined the UK and the US in insisting that Russia would face massive sanctions if it invaded Ukraine.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz joined others in warning of the dire consequences, but said that “at the same time we want to use all the diplomatic possibilities at our disposal”.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that “diplomacy has not yet said its last word. This is good and we still have hope that peace will prevail.

Von der Leyen joined calls for Russia to provide physical evidence that its troops are moving away from confrontation near the Ukrainian border.

“Now we are hearing claims from Russia about troop withdrawals, but so far we have seen no signs of de-escalation on the ground,” she said. “On the contrary, we see that the rise continues. Therefore, we now need deeds to trust the words we have heard. We will not let our guard down. »

Frank Jordans contributed from Berlin

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