EU inches toward new sanctions on Russia

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EU Prepares Sanctions Against Defiant Putin: Will They Work?

By JUERGEN BAETZ and JIM HEINTZ

BRUSSELS (AP) - The European Union on Saturday warned that the apparent incursion of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil pushes the conflict closer to a point of no return, with new economic sanctions being drawn up to make Moscow reconsider its position.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who briefed a summit of the 28-nation EU's leaders in Brussels, said a strong response was needed to the "military aggression and terror" facing his country.

"Thousands of the foreign troops and hundreds of the foreign tanks are now on the territory of Ukraine," Poroshenko told reporters in English. "There is a very high risk not only for peace and stability for Ukraine, but for the whole ... of Europe."

French President Francois Hollande and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said at the summit in Brussels the leaders will make a political decision and then ask the EU's executive arm to finalize the fine print of new sanctions.

However, because several EU nations fear the fallout of sanctions on their own economies, it wasn't immediately clear whether the required unanimity would be reached for immediate punitive measures, or whether the leaders would set Russia another ultimatum.

But Lithuanian leader Dalia Grybauskaite insisted Russia's meddling in Ukraine, which seeks closer ties with the EU, amounts to a direct confrontation that requires stronger sanctions.

"Russia is practically in the war against Europe," she said in English.

NATO estimates that at least 1,000 Russian soldiers are in Ukraine even though Russia denies any military involvement in the fighting that has so far claimed 2,600 lives, according to U.N. figures.

British Prime Minister David Cameron also warned that Europe can't be complacent about Russian troops on Ukrainian soil.

"Countries in Europe shouldn't have to think long before realizing just how unacceptable that is," he said. "We know that from our history. So consequences must follow."

Poroshenko told reporters that he believed efforts to halt the violence were "very close to a point of no return," warning that failure could lead to a "full-scale war."

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EU inches toward new sanctions on Russia
Captured Ukrainian border guards sit in a garage at the Novoazovsk border crossing point, in eastern Ukraine, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. In Novoazovsk, pro Russian rebel fighters looked to be in firm control, well-equipped and relaxed. At least half a dozen tanks were seen on roads around the town, although the total number at the rebels’ disposal is believed to be much greater. Novoazovsk fell swiftly to the rebels Wednesday after being pounded by shelling.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A captured Ukrainian border guard sits in a garage at the Novoazovsk border crossing point, in eastern Ukraine, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. In Novoazovsk, pro Russian rebel fighters looked to be in firm control, well-equipped and relaxed. At least half a dozen tanks were seen on roads around the town, although the total number at the rebels’ disposal is believed to be much greater. Novoazovsk fell swiftly to the rebels Wednesday after being pounded by shelling.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A pro-Russian rebel listens to the news on a transistor radio in the town of Novoazovsk, in eastern Ukraine, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. In Novoazovsk, pro Russian rebel fighters looked to be in firm control, well-equipped and relaxed. At least half a dozen tanks were seen on roads around the town, although the total number at the rebels’ disposal is believed to be much greater. Novoazovsk fell swiftly to the rebels Wednesday after being pounded by shelling.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A camouflaged pro-Russian tank seen in the town of Novoazovsk, in eastern Ukraine, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. In Novoazovsk, pro Russian rebel fighters looked to be in firm control, well-equipped and relaxed. At least half a dozen tanks were seen on roads around the town, although the total number at the rebels’ disposal is believed to be much greater. Novoazovsk fell swiftly to the rebels Wednesday after being pounded by shelling.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
An Orthodox church crosses hangs on a chest of a pro-Russian rebel in the town of Novoazovsk, in eastern Ukraine, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. In Novoazovsk, pro Russian rebel fighters looked to be in firm control, well-equipped and relaxed. At least half a dozen tanks were seen on roads around the town, although the total number at the rebels’ disposal is believed to be much greater. Novoazovsk fell swiftly to the rebels Wednesday after being pounded by shelling.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A local resident passes by camouflaged pro-Russian tank in the town of Novoazovsk, in eastern Ukraine, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. In Novoazovsk, pro Russian rebel fighters looked to be in firm control, well-equipped and relaxed. At least half a dozen tanks were seen on roads around the town, although the total number at the rebels’ disposal is believed to be much greater. Novoazovsk fell swiftly to the rebels Wednesday after being pounded by shelling.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Ukrainian soldiers ride atop an APC near the village of Sakhanka, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. Separatist rebels shelled a town of Novoazovsk in southeastern Ukraine on Wednesday, raising fears they are launching a counter-offensive on government-held parts of the region, one day after the leaders of Ukraine and Russia met to discuss the escalating crisis. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Relatives and friends say goodbye to volunteers, their unit's flag on the right, before they were sent to the eastern part of Ukraine to join the ranks of special battalion unit fighting against pro-Russian separatists, in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. It was the second straight day that attacks were reported in the vicinity of Novoazovsk, which is in eastern Ukraine’s separatist Donetsk region but previously had seen little fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A father, a volunteer, holds his little daughter as relatives and friends say good-buy to volunteers before they were sent to the eastern part of Ukraine to join the ranks of special battalion unit fighting against pro-Russian separatists, in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. It was the second straight day that attacks were reported in the vicinity of Novoazovsk, which is in eastern Ukraine’s separatist Donetsk region but previously had seen little fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: Pro-Russian separatists stand guard as dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. The separatists also displayed war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment including tanks and armored personnel carriers. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: Pro-Russian separatists stand guard as dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. The separatists also displayed war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment including tanks and armored personnel carriers. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: Pro-Russian separatists stand guard as dozens of Ukrainian prisoners, dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes, board the bus after being marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. The separatists also displayed war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment including tanks and armored personnel carriers. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: Pro-Russian separatists stand guard as dozens of Ukrainian prisoners, dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes, board the bus after being marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. The separatists also displayed war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment including tanks and armored personnel carriers. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: Pro-Russian separatists stand guard as dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. The separatists also displayed war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment including tanks and armored personnel carriers. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: Pro-Russian separatists stand guard as dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. The separatists also displayed war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment including tanks and armored personnel carriers. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: Pro-Russian separatists stand guard as dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. The separatists also displayed war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment including tanks and armored personnel carriers. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: Pro-Russian separatists stand guard as dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. The separatists also displayed war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment including tanks and armored personnel carriers. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: Pro-Russian separatists stand guard as dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. The separatists also displayed war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment including tanks and armored personnel carriers. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: Pro-Russian separatists stand guard as dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. The separatists also displayed war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment including tanks and armored personnel carriers. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: Pro-Russian separatists stand guard as dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. The separatists also displayed war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment including tanks and armored personnel carriers. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: Pro-Russian separatists stand guard as dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. The separatists also displayed war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment including tanks and armored personnel carriers. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: Pro-Russian separatists stand guard as dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. The separatists also displayed war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment including tanks and armored personnel carriers. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: A woman walks through war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment displayed by pro-Russian separatists when dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: Pro-Russian separatists stand guard as dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. The separatists also displayed war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment including tanks and armored personnel carriers. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: People walk through war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment displayed by pro-Russian separatists when dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: Pro-Russian separatists stand guard as dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. The separatists also displayed war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment including tanks and armored personnel carriers. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: People take photos of war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment displayed by pro-Russian separatists when dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: People walk through war-damaged Ukrainian military equipment displayed by pro-Russian separatists when dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - AUGUST 24: A pro-Russian waves Donetsk flag on the war-damaged Ukrainian tank displayed by pro-Russian separatists when dozens of Ukrainian prisoners dressed in ragged military uniforms and civilian clothes are marched past jeering crowds around Lenin Square, the rebel-held city Donetsk on Sunday, August 24, 2014, marking Ukraines Independence Day. In Ukraine, the celebration of 23 years since Ukraine split from Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union was marked with a military parade. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in April when the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their intention to split from the rest of Ukraine, has seen around 2,000 civilians killed and more than 330,000 forced out of their homes, according to the United Nations. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Armed Pro-Russian militants stand guard as captured Ukrainian sodliers board a bus on August 24, 2014 in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, during a parade in mockery of the country's Independence Day celebrations. Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine paraded dozens of captured soldiers before a jeering crowd on August 24 in a bid to mock Kiev's Independence Day celebrations. In the capital, the Ukrainian government had sought to boost morale and send a defiant message to the rebels with an upbeat military parade to mark the country's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. AFP PHOTO / MAX VETROV (Photo credit should read MAX VETROV/AFP/Getty Images)
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Conceding ground in the face of a reinvigorated rebel offensive, Ukraine said Saturday that it was abandoning a city where its forces have been surrounded by rebels for days. Government forces were also pulling back from another it had claimed to have taken control of two weeks earlier.

The statements by Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the national security council, indicate that Ukrainian forces face increasingly strong resistance from Russian-backed separatist rebels just weeks after racking up significant gains and forcing rebels out of much of the territory they had held.

Poroshenko, meanwhile, said Ukraine would welcome an EU decision to help with military equipment and further intelligence-sharing.

The office of the Donetsk mayor reported in a statement that at least two people died in an artillery attack on one of Donetsk's neighborhoods. Shelling was reported elsewhere in the city, but there was no immediate word on casualties.

In Brussels, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said "sanctions are not an end in themselves," but a means to dissuade Russia from further destabilizing Ukraine.

"We may see a situation where we reach the point of no return," Barroso warned. "If the escalation of the conflict continues, this point of no return can come."

He provided no specifics about which sanctions the heads of state and government might adopt to inflict more economic pain to nudge Russia toward a political solution.

The U.S. and the EU have so far imposed sanctions against dozens of Russian officials, several companies and the country's financial industry. Moscow has retaliated by banning food imports.

Grybauskaite said the EU should impose a full arms embargo, including the canceling of already agreed contracts. France has so far staunchly opposed that proposal because it has a $1.6 billion contract to build Mistral helicopter carriers for Russia.

The EU's requirement for a unanimous agreement among the 28 nation has in the past blocked or softened decisions since some nations fear the economic fallout.

Russia is the EU's No. 3 trading partner and one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers. The EU, in turn, is Russia's biggest commercial partner, making any sanctions more biting than similar measures adopted by the U.S.

Moscow, meanwhile, is preparing to send a second convoy of humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that Moscow has already received Kiev's preliminary approval and insisted that it would send aid in coordination with the Red Cross. Lavrov wouldn't say when the aid is likely to be sent, but said it could happen next week.

Russian state Rossiya 24 on Saturday showed trucks from the previous convoy at the border being loaded with humanitarian aid that was brought to the area by train. It was unclear when the new convoy could start moving.

Barroso said that the EU - a bloc encompassing 500 million people and stretching from Lisbon to the border with Ukraine - stands ready to grant Kiev further humanitarian aid and financial assistance if needed. The bloc will also organize a donors' conference to help rebuild the country's east at the end of the year, he added.

Ukrainian forces had been surrounded by rebels in the town of Ilovaysk, about 20 kilometers (15 miles) east of the largest rebel-held city of Donetsk for days.

"We are surrendering this city," Ukraine's Lysenko told reporters. "Our task now is to evacuate our military with the least possible losses in order to regroup."

Lysenko said that regular units of the military had been ordered to retreat from Novosvitlivka and Khryashchuvate, two towns on the main road between the Russian border and Luhansk, the second-largest rebel-held city. Ukraine had claimed control of Novosvitlivka earlier in August.

Separately, Ukrainian forces said one of their Su-25 fighter jets was shot down Friday over eastern Ukraine by a missile from a Russian missile launcher. The pilot ejected and was uninjured, the military said in a brief statement.

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Jim Heintz reported from Kiev. Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow contributed reporting.

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