EU Commission chief says Ukraine truce 'insufficient' for peace
European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso warned on Friday that the Ukrainian ceasefire was not enough to achieve long-term peace and chided Russia over its "unacceptable behaviour" in its western neighbour.
Barroso said after talks in Kiev with President Petro Poroshenko that the week-old truce the government signed with rebel leaders and Russia in the Belarussian capital Minsk "is certainly a positive step which needs to be upheld and respected".
"However, it is still insufficient to guarantee sustainable peace," he told reporters.
Barroso spoke shortly after the European Union applied its toughest sanctions to date against Russia over its alleged involvement in the pro-Kremlin uprising that has been convulsing Ukraine's industrial east for the past five months.
"While we are committed to reaching out and seeking a negotiated solution, we also do not hesitate in responding decisively to Russia's unacceptable behaviour," he said.
He said the sanctions against huge state-run banks, oil companies and weapons manufacturers were aimed at "bringing Russia to the conclusion that it is better to have positive, constructive relations with both Ukraine and the European Union.
"They also mean that the European Union and its member states stand by Ukraine."
Barroso said the 28-nation bloc was willing to help the warring sides achieve a negotiated political solution that preserved Ukraine's territorial integrity and ensured "the withdrawal of any foreign troops".
Poroshenko earlier Friday announced that the European and Ukrainian parliaments on September 16 would both ratify an historic trade and political association agreement that Russia has long opposed.
He said after his talks with Barroso that the pact would enter into force on November 1, the same day that Moscow warned it may impose trade restrictions against Ukraine.
© 2014 AFP