Russia and Ukraine close to 'point of no return' -EU
Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 01:36
The presidents of the European Commission and Ukraine warn Russia against escalating the conflict in eastern Ukraine, saying it is close to reaching the point of no return. Vanessa Johnston reports.
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As fighting intensifies in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian separatists, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko arrives in Brussels Saturday in a bid for Europe's support.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warns Russia against escalating the crisis.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO SAYING:
"We are in a very serious, I would say dramatic situation. We may see a situation where we reach the point of no return."
Barroso says the EU is prepared to toughen sanctions against Russia, but hopes for a political deal to end the confrontation.
Poroshenko says he expects to see progress toward peace in the coming days.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PETRO POROSHENKO SAYING:
"I am proud that we survived a generation without the war and I hate the idea that we return to this situation."
On Friday, NATO condemned Russia for sending troops and equipment illegally across the border into eastern Ukraine.
But while former Soviet satellite states in the east are keen for tougher measures, western powers -- such as Germany, France, Italy and Britain -- fear damaging their own fragile economies by losing Russian business.
They're even more wary of risking an interruption in Russian gas supplies this winter.
But Poroshenko suggests Putin should see his visit to Brussels as a clear indication that Ukraine is not alone.
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