Paris: France on Sunday warned of "incalculable consequences" if the situation in Ukraine deteriorates, calling on Russia and on pro-Russian rebels in the former Soviet republic to de-escalate the crisis.
"The situation is very worrying," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on French television.
"When people are whipped into a frenzy and incidents proliferate, they can always boil over with incalculable consequences," he said on the eve of a meeting at which EU ambassadors will mull new sanctions against Moscow.
"It`s not a question of going to war with Russia, that makes no sense. We must appeal for a de-escalation, in particular by the Russians and the pro-Russians" in Ukraine), he added.
On Sunday, pro-Russian militants in Ukraine presented a captured team of international observers as "prisoners of war", raising the stakes in the crisis as US President Barack Obama warned Moscow against "provocation".
Fabius said: "Obviously we have to say, in particular to the Russians, that each country`s sovereignty must be respected. We respect Russian sovereignty the Russians should respect Ukrainian sovereignty."
The French minister said that ambassadors from the European Union`s 28 member states meeting in Brussels on Monday will "prepare a new set of sanctions (against Moscow), the Americans are expected to reveal a new set of sanctions, and if things get even worse, there could be a third phase".