EU foreign ministers will not discuss sanctions against Russia at their upcoming meeting, but the bloc will react accordingly if Ukraine is attacked, a senior EU official said on Friday.
Top EU diplomats will meet on Monday in Brussels to discuss recent developments in Syria and Libya, as well as the situation in Mali and Sudan.
The ministers will also assess Moscow’s proposals on European security arrangements and the military build-up in and around Ukraine.
US State Secretary Antony Blinken will also join the EU ministers through a video link for the conversation on the security situation in Europe.
The ministers will not talk about sanctions against Russia, but the EU “will react quickly if something happens,” a senior EU official said, recalling the remarks of European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen, who warned Russia of “massive economic and financial sanctions” if it attacks Ukraine.
The official called the Russian threat against Ukraine “the most important security development in Europe since the end of the Cold War,” saying: “We don't know what the Russians are going to do ... (but) the level of reaction from the European Union will be at the level of the challenge.”
Blinken and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov met on Friday in Geneva, Switzerland to continue talks on European security arrangements after last week’s talks that ended without progress.
He told Lavrov that an invasion to Ukraine “will be met with a swift and severe response.”
At the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on Jan. 12, the military alliance refused Russia’s claims on halting the NATO enlargement process and withdrawing forces from NATO’s eastern flanks and called on Russia to end threatening rhetoric and the military build-up in and around Ukraine.