In an emergency session Monday, European Union leaders threatened to postpone talks on a pact with Russia unless Russian troops pull back from positions in Georgia.
The first European Union (EU) meeting on how to deal with a different and more assertive Russia ended here Monday with patches of strong language in a statement condemning Moscow's blitz into Georgia and Russia's subsequent recognition of the republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
"With the crisis in Georgia, relations between the EU and Russia have reached a crossroads," reads the 10th point in a joint EU statement from the first emergency session called in Brussels since the 2003 Iraq war.
The statement urged Russia "not to isolate itself from Europe."
But particularly for frontline Eastern European states like Poland and the Baltics, and for Britain, the final communiqué, issued by EU president Nicolas Sarkozy of France, was too general. It did not spell out any specific actions or plans to censure Moscow – even as Russia again turned up the rhetoric in a speech Sunday by President Dmitry Medvedev describing Russia's right to a special sphere of influence on its borders known as Russia's "near abroad." Sanctions were not seriously considered diplomats said.