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EU's Barroso says ready to impose strong Russia sanctions

Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Saturday the EU was prepared to toughen sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis but also that it wanted a political deal to end the confrontation.

At a news conference in Brussels with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Barroso said: "We are ready to take very strong and clear measures but we are keeping our doors open to a political solution."

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He described any tightening of sanctions as intended not to escalate the crisis but to push Moscow to negotiate and he stressed that the EU did not want confrontation - "it makes no sense to have ... a new Cold War" - and said that would be "detrimental to all of Europe".

Poroshenko, echoing comments by EU officials, said he expected a summit of EU leaders later on Saturday to make a formal request to the EU's executive Commission to draw up new sanctions measures that could be implemented if necessary.

Read MoreObama, Merkel will consider more Russian sanctions

Commission President Barroso noted that his staff already had a broad range of options to propose to member states.

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