EU Foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini says Russia's military involvement in the Syria conflict was a "game changer". EU members failed to agree on whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could have a role in ending Syria's civil war though.
"It is for sure a game-changer, it has some very worrying elements... it has to be coordinated, otherwise it risks being extremely dangerous, not only from a political point of view but also military," Mogherini said at a meeting in Luxembourg, reports AFP.
At the meeting, the bloc's 28 members called on Russia to halt its bombing campaign in Syria, however they agreed no common policy on whether Assad should step aside now, or should have a transitional role in ending the conflict.
"The recent Russian military attacks... are of deep concern and must cease immediately," ministers said in a statement. "The military escalation risks prolonging the conflict, undermining a political process, aggravating the humanitarian situation and increasing radicalisation."
Russia claims to have targeted terrorists in waves of air strikes launched in support of the Assad regime. However Western governments claim Russia is targeting Syria's moderate opposition groups. The EU said peace was impossible under Assad, however member states are divided on the timing of Assad's departure.
The UK insists Assad cannot remain in office but is "flexible" about the time and manner of his departure, said Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. France insists the Syrian president cannot be part of the peace process, but Slovakian Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak said Russia's involvement meant Assad is a "relevant" player in the process.
Arriving at the meeting, Hammond said: "We cannot work with Assad as a long-term solution for the future of Syria. We can be flexible on the manner of his departure. We can be flexible on the timing of his departure."