The European Union will be ready to launch a second package of sanctions against Russia, including export controls, if Russian troops move beyond the Ukrainian regions held by Russian-backed separatists, European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told Reuters on Wednesday.
"It would concern economic sanctions in the area of trade, for example export controls," he said. "The EU has been working on a sanctions package for several weeks, so there are ways how we are able to act quickly and further step up sanctions and do this in cooperation with the United States, Britain and other countries."
The European Union's member states gave their green light, via their envoys in Brussels, to the first package of sanctions on Russia after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, an EU diplomat said earlier on Wednesday.
EU leaders will also meet for a special summit in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the bloc's further response to Moscow.
"It is important that we continue to be united and determined and jointly define our collective approach and actions," the head of the EU Council grouping the bloc's member states, Charles Michel, said in a statement on Wednesday.
US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said on Wednesday that the US is prepared to respond to further aggression by withholding technology and resources.
"We're gonna cut him off from Western technology that's critical to advancing the military, cut him off from Western financial resources that will be critical for feeding his economy and also to enriching himself," Adeyemo said in an interview with CNBC.
Britain accused Russian news channel RT of being a tool of the Kremlin's disinformation campaign on Wednesday and asked the media regulator to take action if needed after Russia recognized two rebel regions of eastern Ukraine.
Russian officials say RT is a way for Moscow to compete with the dominance of global media companies based in the United States and Britain which they say offer a partial view of the world.
Critics say RT, which broadcasts news in English, Arabic, Spanish and German, is the propaganda arm of the Russian state and aims to undermine confidence in Western institutions.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said in a letter to state media regulator Ofcom that she was concerned RT would seek to spread "harmful disinformation" about the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan Putin on Wednesday that Turkey did not recognize steps against Ukraine's territorial integrity,
In a phone call, Erdogan told Putin that military conflict in the region would not benefit anyone and repeated his offer to help achieve a solution, his office said. Erdogan also said he valued Putin's close cooperation on regional issues and wanted to continue this.
"President Erdogan, who renewed his call for the matter to be resolved through dialog, stated that it was important to bring diplomacy to the forefront, and that (Turkey) continued its constructive stance in NATO as well."
Earlier, Erdogan was cited by media as saying Turkey cannot abandon ties with Ukraine or Russia.
"First decisive steps were taken yesterday, and we are grateful for them," Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet. "Now the pressure needs to step up to stop Putin. Hit his economy and cronies. Hit more. Hit hard. Hit now."
Ukraine's parliament on Wednesday approved imposing sanctions on 351 Russians, including lawmakers who supported the recognition of the independence of separatist-controlled territories and the use of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine.
The sanctions restrict almost all possible types of activities, in particular, a ban on entry into Ukraine, prohibiting access to assets, capital, property, licenses for business. The security council was due to impose the sanctions after the vote.
China however criticized the expansion of economic sanctions against Russia, saying that they were unlikely to solve the Ukraine crisis and that they had the potential to harm average people as well as the interests of Beijing, The New York Times reported.
“The position of the Chinese government is that we believe that sanctions have never been a fundamental and effective way to solve problems, and China always opposes any illegal unilateral sanctions,” Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, said at a regular press briefing on Wednesday.
One of Europe's worst security crises in decades was unfolding after Russia recognized two areas of eastern Ukraine as independent. Ukraine accused Russia of wrecking peace talks on ending an eight-year-old conflict in the region.
The sanctions began to be imposed against Russia on Tuesday after Putin ordered troops into eastern Ukraine and threatened to go further if Moscow launched an all-out invasion of its neighbor. Despite that, US President Joe Biden has no plans to send US troops to fight in Ukraine, the White House said on Wednesday.