EU not ready to immediately impose new sanctions on Russia: Diplomats

BRUSSELS - European Union governments decided on Tuesday that they were not ready to immediately impose new sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, as a ceasefire to allow for peace talks expired and fighting broke out in the east of the country.

Senior EU diplomats met in Brussels on Tuesday morning to consider whether new measures were needed after a summit of EU leaders on Friday warned Moscow that sanctions were on the cards if peace talks didn't produce results.

"(They) decided they will monitor the situation," one EU diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"The picture on the ground is mixed. In the meantime, there are intensified preparations for sanctions." Two other diplomats confirmed the assessment.

Ukrainian government forces launched air strikes and artillery assaults on pro-Russian separatists in eastern regions on Tuesday, a military spokesman said, after President Petro Poroshenko announced he would not renew a ceasefire.