BERLIN, July 29 The European Union's decision to
impose broad sanctions against Russia was "unavoidable" after
its actions in Ukraine and it is now up to Moscow to make the
next move, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday.
Earlier, the EU agreed for the first time to impose
sanctions against Russian oil companies, banks and defence
firms, by far the strongest international action yet over
Moscow's support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.
"The decision today was thus unavoidable," Merkel said in a
statement, adding that EU leaders had repeatedly warned Moscow
that the annexation of Crimea and continued destabilisation of
east Ukraine were not acceptable.
"It is now up to the leadership in Russia to decide whether
they want to go the way of de-escalation and cooperation,"
Merkel said. "The EU sanctions can be reviewed but further steps
are also possible."
(Reporting by Gareth Jones; writing by Erik Kirschbaum)