* EU leaders not expected to act on tougher sanctions
* Merkel says decision depends on report from Poroshenko
* EU to urge Russia to stop flow of weapons - draft
By Barbara Lewis and Adrian Croft
BRUSSELS, June 26 European Union leaders will
urge Russia on Friday to stop the flow of weapons and militants
across its border with Ukraine and will threaten tougher
sanctions, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters.
EU officials said it was unlikely however that the leaders
would actually give the go-ahead to new sanctions at the summit,
when they will be briefed by Ukrainian President Petro
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that
progress in Ukraine after nearly a week of a ceasefire "has not
yet been so clear ... as I would have hoped".
"We will talk about how much further we should go on
sanctions or how far there is progress in the coming hours. That
can only be decided tomorrow in the light of the report by the
Ukrainian president," she told reporters.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday
Russian President Vladimir Putin's response to Poroshenko's
peace plan would decide whether the United States and Europe
step up sanctions.
So far, the EU has imposed limited measures, targeting 61
people in Russia and Ukraine with asset freezes and travel bans,
as well as two energy companies in the Ukrainian peninsula of
Crimea, taken over by Moscow earlier this year.
The EU is divided about going further and imposing tough
economic sanctions on Russia, with member states wary of
provoking retaliation from the EU's biggest energy supplier.
The 28 EU leaders will throw their weight behind
Poroshenko's peace plan and "take note" of the decision by the
upper chamber of Russia's parliament to retract a law allowing
Russian forces to intervene in Ukraine, the draft statement
The summit will voice regret that the ceasefire "while being
respected by the Ukrainian authorities, has not led to the full
cessation of military hostilities".
"Therefore, it calls upon all parties to genuinely commit to
the implementation of the peace plan and to cement the cessation
of the military activities," the draft statement said.
More than 420 people, including Ukrainian servicemen, rebels
and civilians, are estimated to have been killed in the fighting
in Ukraine, the United Nations said this week.
Ukrainian separatists agreed on Thursday to resume peace
talks to end the conflict in the east, but Poroshenko warned he
might not extend a ceasefire beyond Friday night if their
gesture was aimed only at buying time.
The EU leaders will urge Russia to "actively use its
influence over the illegally armed groups and to stop the flow
of weapons and militants across the border, in order to achieve
rapid and tangible results in de-escalation".
It held out the threat of tougher sanctions on Russia,
saying EU officials had prepared targeted measures "so that
further steps can be taken should events in eastern Ukraine so
(Additional reporting by Paul Taylor and Tom Koerkemeier;
editing by Andrew Roche)