In a phone discussion with LETA on April 14, Latvia’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said that if this Thursday's four-party talks between Ukraine, the United States, the European Union and Russia fails, and separatist activities continue in Ukraine's east, the EU could decide on further sanctions at the next EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.
Rinkevics said that during the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, the ministers agreed to continue the implementation of the second-phase of sanctions against Russia, and that additional Russian officials involved in the events in Ukraine's southern and eastern parts will also be included on the list of sanctioned persons.
At the same time, the EU foreign ministers also agreed for the preparation of a possible third-stage of sanctions against Russia, which would include financial and economic sanctions. ''At the same time, measures are being decided on which would help lessen the effect of the possible sanctions in some EU economies,'' Rinkevics said.
He said that all of these proposals will be evaluated within the next ten to twelve days.
''We really hope that it will not come to this, but we understand that we cannot allow the situation to deteriorate even further,'' he said, adding that it is unacceptable for Russia to intervene in Ukraine's domestic affairs.
The EU foreign ministers also agreed upon a wide ranging assistance program for Ukraine, which includes reducing customs tariffs for Ukrainian goods in the EU, as well as a 1 billion euro loan.