EU condemns Russia's 'significant incursions' into Ukraine
European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso condemned Moscow's "significant incursions" into eastern Ukraine during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.
A statement from the commission said Barosso had a "very frank exchange" with Putin, in which he expressed his concern over Russia's direct role in fighting in eastern Ukraine.
Fears of a wider confrontation have spiralled after NATO said Russia had sent troops over the border and funnelled huge amounts of heavy weaponry to pro-Kremlin rebels.
"The President of the Commission conveyed to President Putin his firm condemnation of the evidence of significant incursions into, and operations on Ukrainian soil by Russian military units," the statement said.
Barosso reportedly said Russia's actions stood in "complete contradiction with the efforts made by the European Union to bring about diplomatic and pragmatic solutions" to the crisis.
He also urged Putin to change course, stressing that "it is difficult to continue to argue for engagement when confronted with the recurrent escalation of the conflict".
The statement went on to say that "the EU has already made clear that further destabilisation of Ukraine and the region will carry high costs".
Putin has repeatedly denied Moscow is fuelling the conflict or has any troops on the ground in the former Soviet state.
On Friday, he demanded the Ukrainian government hold "substantial" talks with the separatists who took up arms against Kiev in April.
© 2014 AFP