EU pressing new Russia sanctions as Ukraine cease-fire nears end

The leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany plan to speak again Monday as deadlines are set to expire on both a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine and for Russia to avoid new sanctions by the European Union.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Sunday after the leaders took part in a two-hour, four-way phone call that the cease-fire he declared June 20 would run through at least Monday night.

The EU is threatening more penalties against Russia if it does not use its influence on pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

French president Francois Hollande’s office said the leaders told Russian president Vladimir Putin that they hoped “results are achieved by Monday.”

Despite the cease-fire, some fighting has persisted in eastern Ukraine where separatists have seized areas and clashed with Ukrainian forces for the past few months.

A Russian state-owned television station said Monday one of its cameramen was killed overnight while reporting in Donetsk.

Sunday’s conversation happened as more than 1000 protesters in Kyiv urged the Ukrainian president to proceed along a different path, following skirmishes with pro-Russian separatists during the weekend.

Protesters claim the unilateral cease-fire with pro-Russian forces is already over, and Kyiv pretending otherwise risks the lives of more Ukrainian soldiers.


(Left to right: French president Francois Hollande, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and German chancellor Angela Merkel at the European Council meeting on June 27 2014. Photo: The Council of the European Union)