European Union leaders meeting on July 16 to pick the bloc's new foreign policy chief, official web site of European Council informs.

The leaders are also likely to discuss further penalties against Russia for its role in Ukraine, although diplomats cautioned that any such measures were unlikely to extend to full economic sanctions, according to Reuters.

With Germany and others reluctant to go further, action may mostly involve extending asset freezes and visa bans to more Ukrainian rebels and Russians deemed responsible for destablising eastern Ukraine.

The reports come as the White House said that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has told Ukraine's leader that the United States and the European Union are talking about imposing new costs on Russia for continuing to escalate the conflict in eastern Ukraine

So far, the EU has imposed asset freezes on 72 people and two energy companies in Ukraine's Crimea region, which was annexed by Moscow in March this year.

Ukraine's military said on July 15 that 258 of its soldiers were killed, more than 900 injured, and 45 had been captured during its three-month-long military campaign in the east.