Europe

Merkel: EU ministers to meet on Russia sanctions

BERLIN (AP) — The European Union's foreign ministers will meet soon to consider further targeted sanctions against Russia over its failure to help stem Ukraine's crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday.

Merkel spoke after complaining in a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin about a lack of public commitment on Moscow's part to last week's Geneva deal aimed at calming tensions.

She said Kiev had taken "a series of steps" to implement the agreement and she is convinced Russia could "put the separatists in Ukraine on a peaceful path of constitutional discussion and election preparation."

"So far, such signals unfortunately have been absent," she said before meeting with Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland, which borders Ukraine and Russia. Merkel said it's important to pursue diplomacy and to prepare for Ukraine's May 25 presidential election. But she said a new round of "phase two" sanctions — a reference to targeted measures such as travel bans and asset freezes against officials that fall short of all-out economic sanctions — also must be considered.

Merkel said the EU foreign ministers will meet "as soon as possible" to consider those measures. She didn't specify a date or what new sanctions might be imposed, though she said she expected "common European action and common action by the G-7" of leading industrial nations.

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