(Adds further comments)
BRUSSELS, March 6 European Union leaders meet
for an emergency summit on Thursday to discuss the crisis in
Ukraine and how to respond to Russia's seizure of the Crimean
They will also hold talks with new Ukranian Prime Minister
Arseny Yatseniuk and are expected to unveil a package of
financial support totalling $15 billion.
Following are comments made by leaders as they arrived for
GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL
"We will talk about how we can help Ukraine in its current
situation. We want that people who have fought for freedom and
democracy can now see some positive developments.
"We will also talk about sanctions of different kind and
form, whether they will enter into force or not we will decide
based on how far diplomatic efforts proceed.
"The day will show how exactly will we proceed."
FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE
"There will be the strongest possible pressure on Russia to
begin lowering the tension and in the pressure there is, of
course, eventual recourse to sanctions. But pressure to do what?
What are we trying to do? We don't want to escalate yet again I
don't know what tension. On the contrary, we want to open the
door to dialogue. That's what we already did in Paris yesterday.
It was a first step, which I think was useful.
"Now, the pressure from Europe needs to be sufficiently
strong to lower tension and lead to dialogue and to finally
allow Ukraine to decide its destiny.
"All Europeans must speak in the same way, with the same
determination and towards the same objective... so that we can
have pressure that leads to a lowering of the tension and finds
a route towards mediation and negotiation."
DUTCH PRIME MINISTER MARK RUTTE
"With all the information we have at this moment, my
position is that we should do everything to give de-escalation a
"If we come to a conclusion today or the next 24-48-72 hours
that de-esclation is not an option then obviously sanctions are
back on the table."
UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER ARSENY YATSENIUK
"We urge the Russian president and and the Russian
government immediately to pull back its forces and to stick to
international agreements that they've signed between Ukraine and
"We need urgently to tackle the problem. We are ready to
find the solution in the contact group.
"We ask Russia to respond, whether they are ready to
preserve peace and stability in Europe, or they are ready to
instigate other provocations, other tensions in our bilateral
and multilateral relations."
LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT DALIA GRYBAUSKAITE
"The danger we're seeing today in Europe is rewriting the
post-war borders and this is th esignal Russia sending to us. We
need to understand this promptly and react immediately, because
after Ukraine will be Moldova, and after Moldova it will be
"Today it is an open and brutal aggression.
"Russia today is trying to rewrite the borders of Europe
after World War Two, that is what's going on.
"It is not only about Crimea, it is about Ukraine first,
second we're already having indications that the pressure in
mounting on Pridnestrovie and Moldova."
"And also last week's exercises with tactical weapons in the
Baltic Sea against Poland and Lithuania, it also shows that
Russia is trying to threaten all Europe and becoming
"I think the first thing for Europeans is we need to
understand that this is serious. And that is about even
rewriting of borders and if we allow this to happen, next will
be somebody else.
"So today I first want my colleagues to hear what I have to
say, because we felt in on our skin, it is our neighborhood.
"This is not only about Ukraine it is also about Baltic
"About sanctions, let's first understand that Russia today
is dangerous, that Russia today is unpredictable. It's not about
to be afraid, it's about to stand up and say we understand it."
(Reporting by Martin Santa, Luke Baker and Barbara Lewis;
Writing by Luke Baker)