(Adds further comments)
BRUSSELS, March 6 (Reuters) - 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 peninsula.
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 the talks:
“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.”
“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.”
“With all the information we have at this moment, my position is that we should do everything to give de-escalation a chance.
“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.”
“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 Russia.
“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.”
“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 different countries.
“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 unpredictable.
“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 region.
“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)