European Union governments will decide on a package of new sanctions against Russia by Friday, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini told the European Parliament on Tuesday, calling for "the strongest possible response." Mogherini, who will be the bloc's next foreign policy chief, said the European Commission, the EU executive, will present a strengthened package of sanctions against Russia over its military invasion of Ukraine by Wednesday. "We need to respond in the strongest possible way," Mogherini told reporters following a presentation to EU lawmakers in the European Parliament.
By Alexei Anishchuk MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Tuesday that Ukraine's moves to join NATO were aimed at undermining efforts to end the war in the east of the country, and called on Washington to use its influence and "talk sense" into Kiev. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Kiev's initiative to seek NATO membership came shortly after a meeting of the Russian and Ukrainian leaders to seek to resolve the conflict between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatist rebels. "So the party of peace was trying, and is still trying, to advance a negotiated political settlement of all the fundamental questions Ukrainians face, and in Kiev, the party of war is taking steps clearly aimed at undermining these efforts," he told a news conference.