European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (R) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso hold a press conference after a special EU summit at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Aug. 30, 2014. (Xinhua/Ye Pingfan)
BRUSSELS, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- European Union (EU) leaders decided early Sunday to give Russia one week to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis, or they will impose tougher sanctions on Russia, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy told a news conference after a special summit in Brussels.
"The European Council says that it stands ready to take further significant steps in the light of the evolution of the situation on the ground and it requests the (European) Commission to urgently take preparatory work and present proposals for consideration within a week," Van Rompuy said.
"If Russia continues to escalate the Ukraine crisis, it will come with high cost," European Commission President Jose Manual Barroso told the same press conference.
"I can assure you the Commission will be quick to deliver further proposals for restrictive measures, as the European Council has unanimously requested us to present," Barroso added.
Barroso also noted that the EU will not consider military solutions to the Ukraine crisis. "There can be no military solution to this crisis. It's time for everyone to get down to the business of peacemaking. It is not too late, but time is quickly running out."
Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of launching a new incursion into Ukraine's eastern region, an allegation Moscow denies.
The months-long conflict in eastern Ukraine has heightened tensions and led to sanctions which Europe and Russia both say have hurt their economies.
In July, the EU agreed for the first time on broad sanctions against the Russian economy -- a package of restrictive measures targeting Russia's finance, defence and energy sectors and blacklisted dozens of individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The 28-nation bloc also said the measures could be adjusted according to the development of the situation.
July's sanctions included a ban on purchasing newly issued bonds and shares in Russia's five major state-owned banks, an arms embargo and a ban on selling dual-use goods to military end-users in Russia. The EU also banned exports of high-technology that can be used in deepwater oil exploration and production.
Moscow hit back on Aug. 7 by imposing restrictions, for one year, on imports of meat, vegetables and fruits, milk and milk products from the EU, the United States and some other Western countries.