Ukrainian servicemen at the positions on a front line in the East of Ukraine. | STANISLAV KOZLIUK


Spain vowed to support a "massive, forceful package" of economic measures against Russia if it launches military action against Ukraine, its foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Jose Manuel Albares said that European nations had resources other than force to dissuade Russia from any military intervention by its troops in the neighbouring country, including ones that would have "massive economic consequences and high costs" for Russia.

Russia has massed tens of thousands of troops on its borders with Ukraine in what Western states fear is the precursor to a new assault on the former Soviet republic. Russia denies it is planning an attack.

"I will not go into details (on the sanctions that European countries may impose) because of the need for confidentiality and the desirability of maintaining uncertainty as a deterrent. But I can assure you that it will be a massive, forceful package," Albares told Spain's parliament on Tuesday night.

He said that Russia appeared to still be committed to dialogue. "The impression is that the Russian authorities wish to keep the dialogue open for the time being, although no concrete progress has been made."

Spain upgraded its travel advisory on Tuesday to warn its citizens against all but non-essential travel to Ukraine, but said it will not yet evacuate over 500 citizens in the country.

Europeans have a united position on the crisis, Albares said.

"The coming weeks will be decisive... The Spanish government is coordinated and prepared for any eventuality," he added.