BUDAPEST, March 13 (Xinhua) -- German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Thursday that the European Union (EU) will impose further sanctions if no sign of de-escalation from Russia's side over Crimea referendum.
The EU does not want to impose sanctions for sanctions' sake, but is ready to go to "stage three" if necessary, the German minister told a press conference in Budapest.
Steinmeier was speaking after a meeting with the foreign ministers of the Visegrad Group, namely the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, a Central European coalition in which three of the four countries share borders with Ukraine.
EU leaders last week said to conduct targeted measures against Russia due to the escalation of situation in crimea, which has decided to hold a referendum on join Russia on Sunday.
The sanctions includes the suspension of trade and visa-liberalization talks, asset freezes and travel bans for as-yet unidentified officials.
"...if we witness an interest of Russia that extends beyond Crimea and if Russia continues to refuse to cooperate in attempts to de-escalate the situation, there will be a third stage of measures to be considered," the German minister said.
The third stage may involve broad-scale economic and trade sanctions against Russia.
Russian parliament leaders have said that Russia would respect the choice made in Crimea's plebiscite, while Washington and its European allies have rejected the upcoming vote as running contrary to the international law and Ukraine's constitution.