EU eyes more sanctions, NATO wary of extending more support

European leaders visit Kyiv by train as war rages on

BRUSSELS: The European Union (EU) will step up sanctions against Russia, foreign ministers gathered in Brussels said on Friday, but they resisted Kyiv’s calls for military action that would risk dragging the NATO military alliance into the war.

In Brussels for talks with NATO and EU peers, the bloc’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said that all options remained on the table with regard to new sanctions against Russia.

“We will consider everything,” Borrell told reporters when asked about the possible suspension of the EU’s gas imports from Russia.

Zelenskyy urges the EU to prove that it is on Ukraine’s side

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said a fourth round of sanctions could affect more Russian banks access to the SWIFT  international transfer system, bar Russian ships from European ports and cut imports from Russia.

“I also suspect that we will be banning other imports like steel, timber, aluminium and possibly coal as well,” he said.

On the other hand, NATO has shown reluctance towards extending more support to Ukraine rejecting Ukraine’s demand for no-fly zones on Friday.

“We are not part of this conflict,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference.

Zelenskyy urges Putin to sit down for direct talks, calls on West to increase military aid to Kyiv

We have a responsibility as NATO allies to prevent this war from escalating beyond Ukraine because that would be even more dangerous, more devastating and would cause even more human suffering,” he added.

Thousands of people are believed to have been killed or wounded and more than 1 million refugees have fled Ukraine since February 24, when Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ordered the biggest attack on a European state since World War 2.

Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for Western powers to enforce a no-fly zone, with Russia shelling cities and bringing fighting to Europe’s largest nuclear plant.

Support for Ukraine so far has come mainly in the form of far-reaching sanctions on Russia, with EU members on Friday saying more financial punishment was yet to come. NATO members have sent weapons to Ukraine, but stopped of military action.

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