The European Union is expected to introduce sanctions against Russia starting from March 17, said Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
Earlier, EU representatives ruled out that the sanctions will have an impact on ordinary Russians. However, former US ambassador Michael McFaul warned many Russian companies could suffer as a result of the possible sanctions.
Earlier, Canada expelled nine Russian soldiers who were taking part in military exercises.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that all planned bilateral activities between the Canadian Armed Forces and the Russian military of the Russian Federation were suspended, including exercises such as NORAD's Exercise Vigilant Eagle.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has postponed his visit to Russia where he was supposed to continue consultations on the possible solution to the Ukraine crisis.
Kerry was reported to have issued a diplomatic ultimatum to his Russia counterpart, according to a senior U.S. administration official.
"He made clear that continued military escalation and provocation in Crimea or elsewhere in Ukraine, along with steps to annex Crimea to Russia would close any available space for diplomacy, and he urged utmost restraint," the official was quoted by CNN as saying.
Kerry said the United States is ready to work with allies to facilitate a Ukraine-Russia dialogue, the official said.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Crimean legislature announced that 80 percent of the local population favoured accession to Russia.
Vladimir Konstantinov made the statement a week before the referendum that is expected to decide the future of the peninsula in Ukraine with a large ethnic Russian majority.
According to Konstantinov, the republic can sustain itself with any support from Kiev.
He accused the current regime of blocking the accounts of the local treasury which has left the autonomous republic financially stranded.
Konstantinov said they are working on developing alternative energy sources and expect support from Russia.
Follow Russia-IC for more news on the Ukraine crisis.
Author: Mikhail Vesely