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Renzi says EU leaders summit on Ukraine 'significant'

Extraordinary meeting comes as Washington weighs sanctions

06 March, 18:08
Renzi says EU leaders summit on Ukraine 'significant' (see related) (ANSA) - Rome, March 6 - Premier Matteo Renzi said Thursday that meetings in Brussels on the crisis in Ukraine are "significant" because of the "cries of pain from the Ukrainian people". He spoke after an extraordinary summit of European Union leaders.

Before the sessions, Renzi met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Polish Premier David Tusk.

The five leaders "covered all possible options" with the aim of "finding a way to help Ukraine", diplomatic sources said.

They also discussed possible political sanctions aimed at achieving a "de-escalation" of the crisis which has intensified with reported Russian intervention in Crimea, which Russia denies.

"Measures will be taken if there are no steps forward," diplomatic sources said. As European leaders met, the White House announced visa restrictions on Russians and people in the Crimea accused of "threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine".

US President Barack Obama has also issued an executive order to sanction "individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine".

The latest action restricting travel is in addition to a White House policy denying visas to human rights abusers linked to political oppression in Ukraine.