EU 'much advanced' with preparatory works on Russian sanctions: Official

Bloc prefers to solve conflict between Russia and Ukraine through diplomacy.

EU 'much advanced' with preparatory works on Russian sanctions: Official

The European Union has well prepared the sanctions against Russia in case of aggression against Ukraine, but the bloc prefers to solve the conflict through dialogue, an official said on Monday.

“Even though we are prepared with deterrence and the restrictive measures, we are really focusing on the diplomatic track trying to make Russia to de-escalate” in the conflict with Ukraine, Peter Stano, lead spokesperson for the EU’s diplomatic service, told reporters at the daily news briefing of the European Commission.

Stano explained that the bloc prepared restrictive measures if “dialogue and diplomacy failed.”

He said that “the work is so much advanced already,” but reminded the “the scope and the type” of EU sanctions will depend on Russia’s actions.

Stano asserted that the EU would first consult the US, Canada, and NATO before taking a decision on sanctions.

At the same time, he reiterated the remarks of Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, warning Russia of “serious political consequences and massive economic costs” if it applies further aggression against Ukraine.

The US, with its European allies, has been warning that Russia is setting the stage for an invasion of Ukraine and has pre-positioned over 100,000 troops on its border with the former Soviet republic alongside significant artillery and tank deployments.

Moscow has denied preparing for a military offensive, saying its troops are there for regular exercises.

Last December, Russia presented to the US and NATO its proposal for providing security guarantees in Europe that takes into account the country's interests.

In a written response to those demands, Washington expressed its commitment to uphold NATO's “open door policy." But Moscow said the response contains “no positive reaction” to its main demand of blocking Ukraine from joining NATO.