European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called on Russia to provide “physical evidence” of the withdrawal of troops from the border with Ukraine
The EU leaders held a short meeting to assess the chances of diplomacy to ease the standoff over Ukraine and discuss sanctions in case Russia invades the neighboring country.
Officials said that the meeting did not involve in-depth study of the details of possible sanctions and their impact on the economy of EU countries.
“Diplomacy has not yet said its last word. This is good, and we still have hope that peace will prevail,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.
The EU, following the United Kingdom and the United States, warned that large-scale sanctions would be imposed against Russia in the event of its invasion of Ukraine.
Before heading to the summit, von der Leyen joined calls for Russia to provide physical evidence that its troops are leaving from the confrontation near the border with Ukraine.
“We hear claims from Russia about pulling back troops, but we have not seen any signs so far of de-escalation on the ground,” she said. “To the contrary, we see that the build-up continues. Therefore, now we need deeds to trust the words we have heard. We will not let our guard down.”
The main purpose of the meeting was to make sure that even if some EU members suffer from potential sanctions more than others, this will not affect the unity of the bloc.