BRUSSELS (AP) -- European Union leaders on Saturday were poised to impose new sanctions against Russia as Ukraine's president warned the conflict with Moscow threatens peace and stability for Europe as a whole.<br />
Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko said a strong EU response is needed because his country is subject to "military aggression and terror."<br />
"Thousand(s) of the foreign troops and hundreds of the foreign tanks are now on the territory of Ukraine," Poroshenko told reporters, speaking in English. "There is a very high risk not only for peace and stability for Ukraine but for the whole peace and stability of Europe."<br />
EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said before a summit of the 28-nation EU's leaders in Brussels that "sanctions are not and end in themselves" but a means to dissuade Russia from further destabilizing Ukraine.<br />
"Russia should not underestimate the European Union's will and resolve to stand by its principles and values," he told reporters, adding that the escalation seen over the past week cannot go unpunished.<br />
"The opening of new fronts and the use of Russian regular forces (on Ukrainian soil) is not acceptable and represents a grave transgression," Barroso added.<br />
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.
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
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