BRUSSELS (AP) — BRUSSELS — The European Union suspended talks with Russia on a wide-ranging economic pact and a visa agreement Thursday in response to its military incursion into Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, threatening tougher sanctions unless Moscow swiftly defuses the crisis.
The moves at an emergency EU summit came on the heels of visa and financial sanctions the Obama administration imposed on Russians and Ukrainians over the military incursion into Crimea.
EU President Herman Van Rompuy said further measures could include travel bans, asset freezes and the cancellation of an EU-Russia summit if Moscow does not quickly end its aggression and joins meaningful, multilateral talks within days to halt the crisis.
“We are in close coordination with the United States on this,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “We cannot go back to business as usual” with Russia, she added.
However, the EU’s latest sanctions appeared weak compared to the U.S. ones and to what some more hawkish EU countries wanted, particularly those bordering Russia. Poland’s leader noted the resistance to penalizing Moscow remains fairly high among some members of the 28-nation bloc because of Europe’s close proximity, energy dependence and trade ties to Russia.