A raft of fresh sanctions is to be imposed on Russia by the European Union, according to British government sources. In a show of support for the beleaguered Ukrainian government, Nato leaders held talks with President Petro Poroshenko in Newport, Wales, on Thursday, with a fresh package of measures likely to be revealed in Brussels on Friday.
The new sanctions, which are to be followed by Washington, will includes strictures on state-owned Russian defence and energy companies, as well as the sale of military hardware by Western powers to Russia. A source told the Press Association (PA) the moves were designed to push Vladimir Putin towards the “negotiating table and off the battlefield".
Earlier, hundreds of protesters gathered to demonstrate against the summit, marching from the city’s Cenotaph to the Celtic Manor venue hosting the gathering. The protest was replete with campaigners from the Socialist Party, Socialist Worker Party, Stop the War Coalition and the Red Block communist group, many carrying banners condemning Nato. According to PA, one elderly bystander had to be restrained by police after he shouted at the demonstrators: "I fought for this country, go home."
The leader of Wales Green Party Pippa Bartolotti, who was part of a group that was allowed to meet officials from the summit, said her friend made a "citizen's arrest" on two Government representatives. She explained: "As I walked through it reminded me of an Israeli checkpoint. It reminded me of when I was arrested in Israel. There were riot police behind there, lined up.
"One of our delegation put their hand on the shoulder of the gentleman from the Home Office, who would not give his name, and said 'I hereby make a citizen's arrest for enabling war crimes'. She then did exactly the same to the gentleman from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, whose name was David, and she said 'I hand you over to the police for further investigation'. The police of course did nothing.
"We all presented different things from different parts of the world. I presented a bunch of white flowers - white to symbolise peace - with a message simply saying there is more power in peace than in war. There is, because it is easy to drop bombs in foreign countries but formulating peace is much more difficult. So don't take the easy option by surrounding yourself with people from the military - surround yourself with people who are doctors, people who are trying to rebuild countries, people from aid agencies.
"People from the military don't know how to build peace, they don't know how to build countries. They don't want to build bridges or the cultural or intellectual power - they only understand about war. It has to stop as it is not making us any friends and it is making us far too many enemies and is enabling organisations such as Isis."