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EU to Slap New Sanctions on Russia     08/30 11:24

   The European Union on Saturday warned that the apparent incursion of Russian 
troops on Ukrainian soil pushes the conflict closer to a point of no return, 
with new economic sanctions being drawn up to make Moscow reconsider its 

   BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union on Saturday warned that the apparent 
incursion of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil pushes the conflict closer to a 
point of no return, with new economic sanctions being drawn up to make Moscow 
reconsider its position.

   Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who briefed a summit of the 28-nation 
EU's leaders in Brussels, said a strong response was needed to the "military 
aggression and terror" facing his country.

   "Thousands of the foreign troops and hundreds of the foreign tanks are now 
on the territory of Ukraine," Poroshenko told reporters in English. "There is a 
very high risk not only for peace and stability for Ukraine, but for the whole 
peace and stability of Europe."

   French President Francois Hollande and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik 
Reinfeldt said upon their arrival for the summit in Brussels the leaders will 
make a political decision and then ask the EU's executive arm to finalize the 
fine print of new sanctions.

   Lithuanian leader Dalia Grybauskaite added Russia's meddling in Ukraine, 
which seeks closer ties with the EU, amounts to a direct confrontation that 
requires stronger sanctions.

   "Russia is practically in the war against Europe," she said in English.

   NATO estimates that at least 1,000 Russian soldiers are in Ukraine even 
though Russia denies any military involvement in the fighting that has so far 
claimed 2,600 lives, according to U.N. figures.

   British Prime Minister David Cameron also warned that Europe can't be 
complacent about Russian troops on Ukrainian soil.

   "Countries in Europe shouldn't have to think long before realizing just how 
unacceptable that is," he said. "We know that from our history. So consequences 
must follow."

   Conceding ground in the face of a reinvigorated rebel offensive, Ukraine 
said Saturday that it was abandoning a city where its forces have been 
surrounded by rebels for days. Government forces were also pulling back from 
another it had claimed to have taken control of two weeks earlier.

   The statements by Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the national security 
council, indicate that Ukrainian forces face increasingly strong resistance 
from Russian-backed separatist rebels just weeks after racking up significant 
gains and forcing rebels out of much of the territory they had held.

   Poroshenko, meanwhile, said Ukraine would welcome an EU decision to help 
with military equipment and further intelligence-sharing.

   The office of the Donetsk mayor reported in a statement that at least two 
people died in an artillery attack on one of Donetsk's neighborhoods. Shelling 
was reported elsewhere in the city, but there was no immediate word on 

   In Brussels, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said 
"sanctions are not an end in themselves," but a means to dissuade Russia from 
further destabilizing Ukraine.

   "We may see a situation where we reach the point of no return," Barroso 
warned. "If the escalation of the conflict continues, this point of no return 
can come."

   He provided no specifics about which sanctions the heads of state and 
government might adopt to inflict more economic pain to nudge Russia toward a 
political solution.

   The U.S. and the EU have so far imposed sanctions against dozens of Russian 
officials, several companies and the country's financial industry. Moscow has 
retaliated by banning food imports.

   Grybauskaite said the EU should impose a full arms embargo, including the 
canceling of already agreed contracts. France has so far staunchly opposed that 
proposal because it has a $1.6 billion contract to build Mistral helicopter 
carriers for Russia.

   New EU sanctions have to be agreed unanimously --- a requirement that has in 
the past blocked or softened decisions since some nations fear the economic 
fallout. Russia is the EU's No. 3 trading partner and one of its biggest oil 
and gas suppliers.

   Barroso said that the EU --- a bloc encompassing 500 million people and 
stretching from Lisbon to the border with Ukraine --- stands ready to grant 
Kiev further financial assistance if needed. The bloc will also organize a 
donors' conference to help rebuild the country's east at the end of the year, 
he added.

   Ukrainian forces had been surrounded by rebels in the town of Ilovaysk, 
about 20 kilometers (15 miles) east of the largest rebel-held city of Donetsk 
for days.

   "We are surrendering this city," Ukraine's Lysenko told reporters. "Our task 
now is to evacuate our military with the least possible losses in order to 

   Lysenko said that regular units of the military had been ordered to retreat 
from Novosvitlivka and Khryashchuvate, two towns on the main road between the 
Russian border and Luhansk, the second-largest rebel-held city. Ukraine had 
claimed control of Novosvitlivka earlier in August.

   Separately, Ukrainian forces said one of their Su-25 fighter jets was shot 
down Friday over eastern Ukraine by a missile from a Russian missile launcher. 
The pilot ejected and was uninjured, the military said in a brief statement.


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