EU issues no sanctions in Ukraine-Russia conflict to avoid escalation Apr 20, 2021 0 262 12345 dpaBrusselsEU foreign ministers on Monday decided not to ramp up pressure on Russia for amassing troops at Ukraine’s border in an effort to solve tensions diplomatically.“The risk of further escalation is evident. We have to commend Ukraine for its restrained response and we urge Russia to de-escalate and to diffuse tensions,” EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said after a videoconference with the 27 ministers.Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who called on the European Union for more support over the weekend - potentially by sanctioning Russia - also dialled into Monday’s talks.Support for such an approach came from Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, who said before the talks began that he hoped Europe would “speak in one voice, saying that Russia needs to draw away its troops and stop the escalation.” The EU should also make clear it is “ready to consider sanctions if red lines are crossed,” Landsbergis said.But the majority of foreign ministers on Monday did not consider such red lines to have been crossed, and the bloc did not issue any additional sanctions against Russia. The bloc has hit its eastern neighbour with a slew of punitive measures over the past months, including for the near-fatal poisoning of opposition politician Alexei Navalny.The recent troop deployment is considered the largest since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.The numbers are disputed, however.“More than 150,000 Russian troops [are] amassing at the Ukrainian borders and in Crimea,” Borrell said after the meeting - but declined to indicate the source of the figure.According to US estimates, Russia has recently moved 15,000 to 25,000 troops onto the annexed Crimean peninsula and towards the Ukrainian border.In the meeting, the ministers had spoken about 120,000 troops in the country or ready for deployment, EU diplomats told dpa.In a bid to keep tensions down, the bloc is putting its bets on talks in the so-called Normandy format. As part of these informal talks, Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine attempt to find a solution to the conflict through diplomatic means. Speaking after the meeting, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged Russia to de-escalate the situation.“Moscow should switch from provocation to cooperation,” he said.Together with France, Germany would push for the full implementation of the Minsk Protocol, an agreement that sets out terms to stop the military conflict in the disputed region in Ukraine. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Diaz-Canel is Cuba’s next Communist Party chief, replaces Raul Castro Apr 20, 2021 0 517 Navalny’s health ‘satisfactory’ after move to prison hospital, says Russia Apr 20, 2021 0 29 Quarantine-free travel kicks off between Australia and NZ after more than a year Apr 20, 2021 0 27 Over 10 million people in Britain given second Covid-19 vaccine dose dpa London More than 10 million people in Britain have now received their second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to government figures. The milestone means that more than 19 percent of all adults in the country have .. Putin accepts Biden’s invitation to virtual climate summit Moscow Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted an invitation by his US counterpart, Joe Biden, to attend an online video conferenced on climate change this Thursday. Putin will explain Russia’s approach to .. Hundreds of doses of AZ land in trash every day in Sweden Oslo Hundreds of doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine are thrown away every day in Stockholm because people refuse to take that shot, a head physician in Sweden told broadcaster SVT on Monday. Johan Styrud of the .. British health secretary confirms Covid-19 booster shots planned London British people are to receive booster shots to extend the effectiveness of their vaccines against Covid-19, the health secretary said on Monday. Health Minister Matt Hancock said the government was “ramping up ..