Unswayed by threats of retaliation from Moscow, including a possible ban on airlines from Europe flying over Russia, European leaders on Monday endorsed an expansion of economic sanctions against Russia, but backed off putting the new measures into effect immediately.
The decision by the European Union to stiffen “restrictive measures” over Ukraine came as sporadic fighting disrupted a Russian-backed cease-fire declared on Friday and Ukraine’s president, Petro O. Poroshenko, vowed to hang on to contested territory threatened by pro-Russian rebels.
With a fragile truce barely holding in eastern Ukraine, Mr. Poroshenko visited the port city of Mariupol, not far from where Ukrainian forces suffered severe losses in recent days, and said that his government would never relinquish territory that some separatists claim historically belongs to Russia.
The European Union has given strong support to the cease-fire but, skeptical about Russia’s intentions after the swift collapse of previous efforts at a settlement, decided on Monday to expand existing economic sanctions. Diplomats say the measures include tight restrictions on access to capital in Europe by the two state-controlled Russian energy giants, Rosneft and Gazprom’s oil affiliate, and the state pipeline operator, Transneft.