Despite tough rhetoric decrying Russia's increasing military involvement in Ukraine,
Instead, the 28-nation bloc's heads of state and government tasked their executive body to "urgently undertake preparatory work" for tougher economic sanctions, according to summit chairman
The sanctions will depend on the evolution of the situation but "everybody is fully aware that we have to act quickly," he said. The preparatory work will start Monday.
The fighting between the military and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine has claimed 2,600 lives, according to U.N. figures.
The U.S. and the EU have imposed sanctions against dozens of Russian officials, several companies as well as the country's financial sector and arms industry. Moscow has retaliated by banning food imports.
Several European leaders had called for additional sanctions at the outset of the meeting in Brussels, but the fear of an economic backlash apparently prevailed and led the bloc to grant Russia another chance to avoid tougher action. New sanctions would have required unanimity among the leaders.
Russia is the EU's No. 3 trading partner and one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers. The EU, in turn, is Russia's biggest commercial partner, making any sanctions more biting than similar measures by the U.S.
"Thousands of the foreign troops and hundreds of the foreign tanks are now on the territory of Ukraine," Poroshenko told reporters. "There is a very high risk not only for peace and stability for Ukraine, but for the whole … of Europe."
European Union threatens to enact new sanctions against Russia over the incursion of troops on Ukrainian soil