European Union heads of government have threatened Russia with an escalation of economic sanctions, saying they held Moscow responsible for supporting separatists who are accused of killing 30 civilians in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol over the weekend.
The deaths in the eastern coastal city shattered an already tenuous ceasefire signed in Minsk in September, and capped a month of spiralling violence in Ukraine.
The EU’s foreign ministers will meet in Brussels tomorrow to discuss the deteriorating situation. “We condemn the killing of civilians during the indiscriminate shelling of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol,” the 28 heads of government said in a statement. “We note evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia. We urge Russia to condemn the separatists’ actions and to implement the Minsk agreements.”
The Kremlin denies sending troops over the border to Ukraine and insists it is not equipping the pro-Russian rebels. But Nato says there is credible evidence of Russian boots and equipment on the ground.