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BRUSSELS: European foreign ministers met Monday to coordinate what they warn would be an unprecedented economic sanctions regime if Russia launches a new military assault into Ukraine. Following a meeting of G7 ministers in Liverpool at the weekend, where the US and major allies warned the Kremlin of “massive” consequences, the 27 EU ministers gathered in Brussels.

They were expected to approve a list of names and companies associated with Russia’s private military company Wagner to be added immediately to existing sanctions regimes. And they will signal their readiness to impose huge new measures targeting Russia’s economy if a troop build-up near the Ukrainian border leads to direct military action.

The ministers are also expected to discuss whether or not European capitals will join a US-led diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics in February, to protest Chinese rights abuses. “Yesterday we had the G7,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, arriving at the talks.

“There was a strong agreement, position in order to have a strong stance behind Ukraine, defending their sovereignty and territorial integrity. “We will send a clear signal that any aggression against Ukraine will have a high cost for Russia,” he said, insisting that Brussels will coordinate any action with London and Washington.

Lithuania’s Gabrielius Landsbergis stressed that the sanctions threat was a deterrent but that, if they proved necessary, they would have to be on an “unprecedented scale”.

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