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Time has come for tougher EU action against Russia: UK

14 March 2014, 23:56 CET
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(LONDON) - The "time has come" for the European Union to impose tougher sanctions on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Friday after US-Russian talks failed to yield a breakthrough.

US Secretary of State John Kerry met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in London earlier Friday to try to resolve a Cold-War style crisis ahead of a referendum in the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea on Sunday.

"It is deeply disappointing that today's talks did not produce the diplomatic breakthrough which Secretary Kerry worked tirelessly to achieve and which it was in Russia's power to ensure," Hague said in a statement.

"I regret the fact that Russia has refused to take this opportunity to change course, and is pressing ahead with plans to support an illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate referendum in Crimea on Sunday.

"The United Kingdom is strongly of the view that there must be a firm and united response from the European Union at the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, and that the time has come for tougher restrictive measures to be adopted as previously agreed by EU nations."

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