New Ukraine president calls for tougher sanctions on Russia


European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, right, shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

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BRUSSELS (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is urging the European Union to step up sanctions against Russia amid continued tensions in the eastern Donbass region and Crimea.

After talks Wednesday with European Council President Donald Tusk, Zelenskiy thanked the bloc for its “unwavering support” and called for the “strengthening of sanctions to get peace back in Ukraine.”

Tusk says that by making his first foreign trip as president to EU and NATO headquarters in Brussels, Zelenskiy is sending “a strong and important signal.”

Tusk says the EU remains committed to Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity.

Zelenskiy also held separate talks with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Top EU and NATO officials have been keen to hear the foreign policy aims of the politically-inexperienced former television comedian sworn in last month.

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