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EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has promised new punitive measures against Russia after Moscow announced a partial military mobilization to buttress its war effort in Ukraine.
"We decided to bring forward as soon as possible additional restrictive measures against Russia in coordination with partners," Borrell said on September 21 following an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Borrell said that the bloc "will study, we will adopt, new restrictive measures, both personal and sectoral," and that a final decision on the new sanctions would need to be made at a formal session of the EU ministers.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier ordered a partial military mobilization to help "liberate" the Donbas region of Ukraine, where Russian forces have recently lost territorial gains made following its unprovoked invasion in February.
Putin's address came a day after Russian-occupied regions in eastern and southern Ukraine announced plans to hold votes on being incorporated into Russia, triggering international outrage and condemnation.
Putin also said his threat to use everything at his disposal to protect Russian territory was "not a bluff." His words were widely seen as a reference to Russia's nuclear arsenal.
In a statement, Borrell said that "on 21 September, Russia chose a path of confrontation by announcing a partial mobilization in Russia, by supporting the organization of illegal 'referenda' in the Ukrainian territories currently occupied by Russia and by threatening again with the use of weapons of mass destruction."
Borrell added that "the references to nuclear weapons do not shake our determination, resolve, and unity to stand by Ukraine and our comprehensive support to Ukraine's ability to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty as long as it takes."
Threatening Europe with the use of nuclear weapons, Borrell said, "is a real danger to the whole world, and the international community has to react."
The members of the 27-country EU bloc, he said, must reiterate their continuing support for Ukraine, and "alert the international community about the unacceptable situation in which Putin is putting all of us."
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