EU wants Russia to defuse Ukraine crisis, ready to toughen sanctions

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomes German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, December 10, 2021. REUTERS / Johanna Geron / Pool

BRUSSELS, December 10 (Reuters) – The European Union wants Russia to defuse the tension it has created by assembling troops on the border with Ukraine and the bloc of 27 is ready to step up sanctions against Russia in case of invasion of Ukraine, said the European Commission.

Speaking at a joint press conference with the new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU wanted good relations with Russia, but these depended on of Russia’s behavior.

“We want a de-escalation and an end to all aggression against its neighbors (of Russia),” von der Leyen said at the press conference.

“Otherwise, the European Union will seek to intensify its sanctions and take other measures in all economic and financial sectors, in agreement with our partners,” she said.

“We want good relations with Russia, but above all it depends on how Russia behaves. Russia takes a threatening position towards its neighbors and this compromises the security of Europe,” she said. .

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Reporting by Sabine SIebold Jan Strupczewski

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Christi C. Elwood