EU doesn't want to confront Russia but must ready measures-Germany

TALLINN, March 11 Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:27am EDT

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TALLINN, March 11 (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Tuesday the European Union would rather avoid confrontation with Russia over its incursion into Ukrainian territory in Crimea but would have to prepare an EU response if Moscow doesn't back down.

"If the weekend passes without a visible change in Russia's conduct, then on Monday in the European Council we will have to discuss a next stage of measures," he said on a visit to the Baltic states, all EU members who are worried about Ukraine.

"We don't want confrontation but the action of the Russian side unfortunately makes it necessary for us to prepare, as I have just outlined to you," Steinmeier told reporters in the Estonian capital Tallinn.

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