The head of the leading European Parliament’s faction, the European People's Party, Manfred Weber called for tougher sanctions against Russia in case of escalation in eastern Ukraine or deterioration of the health of Alexei Navalny, who is on a hunger strike in the penal colony.
Russia is "continuing the course of dangerous provocations" and "strengthening the military presence around eastern Ukraine is a test for the West," Weber said in an interview with the Funke media group.
The answer, according to Weber, should be "unambiguous, strong" and coordinated by Europe and the United States.
"The time of the partial sanctions is over. A large-scale freezing of oligarch accounts or a disconnection of Russia from SWIFT should become real options in case of escalation," Weber said.
He added that the Nord Stream 2 project should also be terminated, since in this case it "is losing all its meaning."
Weber's threats are "another act of a burial of European parliamentary diplomacy," said Konstantin Kosachev, deputy speaker of the Russian Federation Council.
Kosachev complained that the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, the main platform for cooperation and dialogue between the EU Parliament and the Russian Federal Assembly, "demonstratively appoints outright Russophobes, who are, as they say, require hospital care. This makes any conversation, if such suddenly begins, knowingly meaningless."
The Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Ruslan Khomchak, during his speech in the Parliament, reported that Russia is amassing troops along Ukrainian borders.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Intelligence Directorate said that Russia is ready for large-scale provocations, in particular, to attack deep into the territory of Ukraine.
Last week, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Army, General Mark Milley, General Mark Milley, held talks with Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.
"We have made it clear that we see threats from Russia and take them very, very seriously," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby later said.
He added that Washington would like Moscow to be "more open" about the troop movements. "While we have learned from the bitter experience to not take at face value the Russians' statements about their intentions," Kirby said.
NATO troops in the next few months will hold exercises in Ukraine, the scenario of which will be "to repel a large-scale offensive of the armed forces of the hypothetical aggressor country," the Ukrainian General Staff said.
"The defensive actions will transition to subsequent offensive to restore the state border and territorial integrity amid the aggression by the neighboring state," the Ukrainian General Staff said.