High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton addresses a press conference following an extraordinary Foreign Ministers meeting at the EU Headquarters in Brussels,caital of Belgium, March 3, 2014. (Xinhua/Ye Pingfan)
BRUSSELS, March 3 (Xinhua) -- The European Union(EU)mulled "targeted measures" against Russia due to the situation in Ukraine, said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Monday.
"In the absence of de-escalating steps by Russia, the EU shall decide about consequences for bilateral relations between the EU and Russia, for instance suspending bilateral talks with Russia on visa matters as well as on the New Agreement, and will consider further targeted measures," Ashton told the press conference after an extraordinary EU foreign ministers' meeting.
The EU also decided to suspend preparations for the G8 summit in Sochi.
"The EU and those Member States who are participants of G8, have decided for the time being to suspend their participation in activities associated with the preparations for the G8 Summit in Sochi in June, until the environment comes back where the G8 is able to have meaningful discussion," Ashton said.
EU foreign ministers are ready to further pursue its efforts with the international community and international financial institutions, especially the International Monetary Fund, to assist Ukraine, according to a statement issued after the foreign ministers' meeting.
Crimea is now the center of Ukraine's ongoing crisis after some 50 armed men carrying Russian navy flags last Friday took control of the two airports in the regional capital of Simferopol, one day after gunmen seized the local parliament and government buildings.
Besides the extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council to discuss the EU's response to the developments, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said Monday the EU has decided to convene an extraordinary meeting of EU learders on Thursday to discuss the situation in Ukraine.