Category Archives: Europe, EU

Europe Isn’t Really Worried About Putin

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – February 26, 2015) [Chart here http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-02-26/europe-isn-t-really-worried-about-putin?cmpid=yhoo] For all the alarmist rhetoric about Russian barbarians at the gate, NATO countries are reluctant to put their money where their mouth is. Only the countries closest to Russia’s borders are increasing their military spending this year, while other, bigger ones are making cuts. Regardless of what […]

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TRANSCRIPT & AUDIO: Remarks by Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs: “Unity in Challenging Times: Building on Transatlantic Resolve”

Victoria Nuland file photo

State Department transcript [of prepared remarks – click here for PDF of uncorrected transcript including Q&A]  Remarks by Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs: “Unity in Challenging Times: Building on Transatlantic Resolve” Brookings Institution Washington, DC January 27, 2015 As prepared View more details on Brookings.edu Thanks, Fiona, for that introduction and thanks to Brookings for […]

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Interfax: Terrorism in Europe rooted in Middle East policy – diplomat

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 18 (Interfax) – The ongoing surge of terrorism in Europe is rooted in the European policy in the Middle East and North Africa, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department on New Threats and Challenges Ilya Rogachev said. “This is a consequence of the policy, including that of the Europeans, in the Middle East and North Africa,” he […]

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Business New Europe: Putin’s vision – building a Greater Europe by 2050

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – February 13, 2015) The situation in the heart of Europe looks pretty bleak at the moment. A shaky ceasefire deal is supposed to take effect on February 15, but many of the substantive elements of a deal that would allow all sides to walk back from a […]

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From a Munich in Moscow to a Munich in Minsk — How Europe has Come to Putin’s Aid

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 12, 2015) In the 1930s, Hitler pursued a simple policy: he simply said one thing and did another. Putin has innovated: he not only lies but uses forces to do his bidding for which no one holds him responsible and thus has the chance to be accepted by some in the […]

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Business New Europe: Russian coal keeps UK household lights on as winter grips

Russian Coal Mine file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.ru – Nick Kochan in London – February 5, 2015) As winter grips the UK, a group of Russian coal companies with leaders closely linked to President Vladimir Putin are enabling British power companies to keep the country’s lights on – a precarious position as the sanctions rhetoric rises once again. Three Russian firms, SUEK, KRU […]

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EU-Russia meet between Putin, Merkel, Hollande starts; seen going late into night

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – February 6, 2015) It may not be the last chance for peace, but there hasn’t been a better time than this in the last few months. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande is sitting down with Russian President Vladimir Putin late on February 6 to hammer out […]

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NEWSWATCH: Ukraine needs America’s help

Ukraine Map and Flag

[“Ukraine needs America’s help” – Washington Post – Steven Pifer, Strobe Talbott – January 29, 2015] Steven Pifer and Strobe Talbott, in a Washington Post op-ed, address the unfolding conflict in Ukraine and U.S. options. The new year has brought more misery …. Separatist fighters, supported by Russian troops, have launched attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk. Diplomatic efforts have made no progress toward […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Gazprom throws down the gauntlet to Europe over gas supplies via Turkey

Gas Facility file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – January 19, 2015) Russian gas giant Gazprom says Europe must build a new pipeline from Turkey if it wants to secure energy supplies via its new route that cuts out Ukraine. Russia had been intending to supply gas to Europe that bypassed Ukraine through South Stream, which was to […]

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Business New Europe: It’s time for a new pan-European Security treaty

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(Business New Europe PERSPECTIVE – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – January 13, 2015) We are in the middle of the worst political crisis since the end of the Cold War and there is a very real, albeit still remote, possibility of war in Europe. Without attempting a detailed analysis of how we got here, in the broadest brush […]

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EU split on maintaining Russian sanctions

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – January 16, 2015) With European growth faltering, and mounting fears of a total meltdown of the Russian economy that no-one wants, the European Union’s commitment to sanctions on Russia is wavering. At least eight EU countries are reported to be against renewing EU economic and financial sanctions when they […]

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Securing peace instead of rewarding expansion: An appeal, by over 100 German-speaking experts on Eastern Europe, for a reality-based and not illusions-guided Russia policy

Map of Germany

(opendemocracy.net – Andreas Umland – January 9, 2015) Andreas Umland is a DAAD Associate Professor of European Studies at the Political Science Department of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy [“Some of the most influential German correspondents on Russia and Ukraine sympathise with the appeal, but, for specifically professional reasons, did not add their signatures.”] On December 5, 2014, 60 prominent German personalities […]

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EU to provide €1.8 billion extra funds for foundering Ukraine

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – IntelliNews – January 9, 2015) The EU will provide €1.8bn in macroeconomic assistance to default-threatened Ukraine, the European Commission announced on February 8. But the move might not be enough to save Ukraine from a sovereign default. The loan comes one day after a call by veteran financier George Soros for the EU to find €50bn for […]

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Soros calls for EU to give Ukraine $50 billion bailout

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – January 8, 2015) George Soros, the 84-year old financier and philanthropist, has called for the EU to pump $50bn into Ukraine, while predicting a Russian default. “Europe needs to wake up and recognise that it is under attack from Russia. Assisting Ukraine should also be considered as a defense expenditure by the EU […]

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Putin Signs New Military Doctrine: Core Elements Unchanged

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 12, Issue 2 – Roger McDermott – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – January 6, 2015) President Vladimir Putin has introduced a new Military Doctrine in the context of the Ukraine crisis, deteriorating relations with the United States, the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as well as shifts within the international security environment. […]

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NEWSWATCH: Russia ‘may face chaos’ if extra sanctions imposed: Germany

Map of Germany

[“Russia ‘may face chaos’ if extra sanctions imposed: Germany” – AFP – January 4, 2015] AFP covers a German official’s assessment of the potential impact of additional sanctions on Russia: Tougher sanctions may destabilise the situation further in Russia and plunge the country into chaos, German deputy chancellor Sigmar Gabriel warned … ‘Whoever wants that will provoke a much more dangerous situation […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian senator calls for new security architecture in Europe

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(RIA Novosti – December 30, 2014) The head of the Russian Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, has called for the start of a dialogue on forming a European security architecture on new principles, without national egoism, RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya) reported on 30 December. “It is in our common interests to […]

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Russia’s Increasing Alienation from West ‘Only Partially’ Result of Putin’s Actions, Bunin and Makarkin Say

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 19, 2014) Many in Moscow and the West believe that Vladimir Putin bears complete responsibility for the breakdown in relations between Russia, on the one hand, and Europe and the United States, on the other, and thus they believe that if he changes course or is replaced, a more positive partnership […]

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STRATFOR: Viewing Russia From the Inside

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Stratfor.com – George Friedman – December 16, 2014) Last week I flew into Moscow, arriving at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 8. It gets dark in Moscow around that time, and the sun doesn’t rise until about 10 a.m. at this time of the year – the so-called Black Days versus White Nights. For anyone used to life closer to the […]

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Business New Europe: What price European values when economic collapse is imminent?

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – KYIV BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 15, 2014) Ukraine needs about $15bn now or it will collapse, possibly in the next few weeks. Ukraine’s prime minister, Arseniy Yatseniuk, called on Western donors to come up with a $15bn rescue package to stave off collapse on December 11 and was met by a […]

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Interfax: Medvedev: Russia is part of Europe but also eyeing Asia

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MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has disagreed with the opinion that Russia is not part of European civilization. “There is no doubt that Russia is part of Europe and European civilization and there is nothing to add here. I have always said so and Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has said so too,” Medvedev said in an […]

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Interfax: EU membership Ukrainian government ultimate goal – PM

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KYIV. Dec 9 (Interfax) – Ukraine’s membership in the European Union is the Ukrainian government’s final goal, said Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. “Our ultimate goal is membership in the European Union. If it is to be attained Ukraine will have to go through serious trials, implement radical reforms, change Ukraine and make it a European state,” Yatsenyuk told the government […]

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Putin’s Luck Runs Out

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – December 3, 2014) Vladimir Putin has been on quite a roll for about a year now. But December 1, 2014, just might turn out to be the day the tide finally turned against him. Ever since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March sparked the worst East-West showdown since the Cold War, Moscow has […]

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Questions appear as Russia drops controversial South Stream pipeline

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – December 2, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia is calling off the South Stream project to construct a gas pipeline to Europe via the Black Sea. According to Russian experts, the recent dramatic increase in the project’s cost could have had a hand in the Kremlin’s […]

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Interfax: EU, NATO currently don’t see Ukraine as their member – Kuchma

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(Interfax – December 3, 2014) Ukrainian former President Leonid Kuchma believes Ukraine should be realistic about its capabilities and should come close to meeting the standards of the EU and NATO before speaking about membership in these structures. “We can head anywhere. We have indeed taken the course in the direction to the EU and NATO, but we should be […]

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Interfax: Russia will wait patiently for EU to come out of “sanctions spiral” – Russian Foreign Ministry

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ANOSINO (Moscow region). Dec 1 (Interfax) – Russia remains the main energy partner of the European Union and will wait for the EU to come out of the sanctions spiral, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Nebenzya said. “We are working on the assumption that there is no real alternative to mutual and equal cooperation between Russia and the EU. Russia […]

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Far-Right Europe Has a Crush on Moscow

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – November 26, 2014) International headlines have been rife with speculation about Russia’s ties to Europe’s far right in recent days, since news broke that France’s right-wing National Front party had borrowed 9 million euros ($11.2 million) from the Moscow-based First Czech-Russian Bank. Disillusioned with the EU, European far-right parties have redoubled their […]

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VIDEO: Is Putin intentionally provoking the West?

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

PBS News Hour interviews Russia scholar Kimberly Marten about Russia’s unfolding relations with the West. [click here for transcript] Said Marten: I think part of what’s going on is that Putin is trying to take attention off of the problems that the Russian economy is facing.  The sanctions are working much better than … predicted … they’re having real impact on the Russian oil industry … one […]

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Interfax: Former Deputy PM Arbuzov: Ukrainians misled about European integration

Ukraine Map and Flag

ST. PETERSBURG. Nov 13 (Interfax) – The Ukrainian authorities are adamant to integrate with the European Union at any cost and do not wish to think about possible consequences, according to former Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov. “Western regions have always adhered to European integration because they are attracted to EU member countries culturally and economically. It is a […]

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Russia, Ukraine and EU sign gas deal

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(Business New Europe –  bne.eu – October 31, 2014) Russia, Ukraine and the EU have signed a trilateral gas agreement securing the resumption of Russian gas supplies to Ukraine from November. The deal followed a total of 30 hours in talks continuing into the night of October 30, when the sides announced an agreement. Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak, EU Energy Commissioner […]

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Russia offers EU a backdoor out of gas war

Gas Flame file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 30, 2014) Russia’s Gazprom said on October 29 that it will seek to open talks with the new European Commission on expanding its access to the Opal pipeline, which carries gas from Germany to the heart of Central Europe. The move serves as a reminder to member states that, if it wants, the […]

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RIA Novosti: EU-Russia Sanctions: No One Wants to Show They are Giving in First

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW, October 29 (RIA Novosti) – The anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the European Union will not be scaled back or rescinded in the immediate future. They’re likely to be in effect until mid-March of next year, an EU diplomatic source told RIA Novosti. But as Nigel Kushner, the CEO of W Legal, an international law firm that specializes in sanctions, […]

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Business New Europe: Russia calls on EU to show money for Ukraine gas

Gas Flame file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 29, 2014) Russia’s ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov called on the EU to show Russia it has the money to pay for Ukrainian gas, before Russia renews gas supplies to Ukraine, which were cut after a dispute over pricing and arrears. The EU is set to disburse nearly $1bn by the end […]

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Business New Europe: Ukrainians elect pro-European parliament

Rada File Photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Graham Slack in Kyiv – October 27, 2014) Ukrainians have elected a pro-European parliament in snap elections on October 26, according to preliminary results. The results show pro-European parties headed by President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk respectively are neck-and-neck for first place, with 20% of votes counted. Both men said they […]

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Ukraine, the Euromaidan and the EU-A Net Assessment of Kyiv’s Course Toward Europe Since the Start of 2014

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 11, Issue 185 – Vladimir Socor – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – October 20, 2014) Western powers lost control and, to some extent, lost comprehension of the situation in Ukraine during the Euromaidan mass protest movement and its aftermath. They then trailed behind the events throughout Russia’s war against Ukraine to date. The European Commission’s lame-duck status […]

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Playing its own game: Belarus as a peacemaker between Russia and the West

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexander Iskandaryan, special to RBTH – October 20, 2014) Alexander Iskandaryan is a political scientist and director of the Caucasus Institute in Yerevan, Armenia. The leadership in Minsk seems to be taking advantage of the crisis in Ukraine to improve its image Relations between the West and Belarus have taken a curious and […]

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RIA Novosti: EU Has Misconceptions About the Origin of Ukrainian Conflict

Ukraine Map and Flag

(RIA Novosti – Alexander Mercouris – LONDON, October 21, 2014) Alexander Mercouris is a London-based lawyer The ASEM summit in Milan cruelly exposed the illusions EU leaders hold about the Ukrainian conflict, and not for the first time Ever since the February coup in Ukraine, the EU’s leaders have held to two assumptions: First, that the crisis in Ukraine is […]

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Success of Russia-Ukraine Gas Deal Depends on EU’s Willingness to Pay

Gas Flame file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – October 21, 2014) As the Russian and Ukrainian Energy Ministers sit down with European Commission chaperones to resolve their intractable natural gas dispute on Tuesday, the ball will be in the EU’s court, which is expected to finance both Ukraine’s and its own energy security. With the approach of winter sharpening the […]

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RIA Novosti: Lavrov: Western Sanctions’ Goal is to Change Russia, Not to Settle Ukrainian Crisis

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW, October 19 (RIA Novosti) – The goal of Western sanctions is to force to change the position of the Russian Federation on the key and fundamental issues, and not to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “Our partners, who actually imposed the sanctions, do not hide the fact that the goal of these measures […]

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Interfax: Russia remains open to free trade zone with EU, Lavrov says

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, October 14, 2014) There is no alternative to improving relations between Russia and the EU and Russia is ready to discuss the creation of a free trade zone with the EU, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. “I believe that no clear-headed person in Europe will argue with the fact that there is no reasonable alternative […]

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Moscow Times: Ex-Soviet President Gorbachev Says ‘Disunity’ With Russia Weakens Europe

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 16, 2014) Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev has called on Russia and the West to put an end to their war of words and retaliatory sanctions over Ukraine and discuss a practical solution to the crisis. “How can you conduct a dialogue if you ‘punish’ the people in power who influence politics?” Gorbachev said […]

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Russia Can’t Be Blackmailed Over Ukraine, Putin Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – October 15, 2014) It’s futile for the U.S. and its allies to “blackmail” Russia over the Ukraine crisis, President Vladimir Putin said in a newspaper interview. Russia’s partners should remember the risks involved in disputes between nuclear powers, Putin said. He accused Barack Obama of adopting a “hostile” approach in naming Russia as a threat to […]

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Interfax: EU will review Russia sanctions in late October – head of EU Delegation

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MOSCOW. Oct 14 (Interfax) – The European Union plans to review its sanctions against Russia at the end of October, the Head of the EU Delegation to Russia, Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas, said when answering a question from Interfax on the sidelines of the European Business Association forum in Moscow on Tuesday. The results of such a review will depend on […]

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RIA Novosti: Lavrov: Moscow Opposes Following ‘Primitive Scenario’ of Confrontation With West

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW, October 13 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow opposes confrontation with the West as a joint international effort is required to counter threats to global stability, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday. “Despite the hostile behavior of the Western partners, we still oppose sliding into the primitive scenario of a direct confrontation between Russia and the West. Russia is ready […]

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RIA Novosti: “Less Than Half of Europeans Favor EU Involvement in Ukraine Crisis Settlement: Poll”

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MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti) – Less than half of the population of the United Kingdom, France and Germany think that the European Union should participate in the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis while supporting humanitarian aid deliveries and a peacekeeping mission, with some also suggesting the provision of financial aid for the Kiev government, an ICM poll commissioned by […]

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RIA Novosti: Lavrov on Western Sanctions: Lifting Them Is Up to Those Who Imposed Them

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti) – Speaking about the possible removal of sanctions against Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that the matter was for Western states to decide. “Sanctions is the business of our western colleagues, the business of the countries that decided to use this illegal instrument for some reason, possibly just to take their frustration […]

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Business New Europe: Ukraine fails to gain from EU free trade over six months

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 8, 2014) A report by Ukraine’s Alfa Bank argues that Ukraine has failed to gain from unilateral free trade with the European Union over the first six months. Exports have indeed grown but this has little to do with the free trade zone, says the report. In April 2014 the EU unilaterally removed […]

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Interfax: Poroshenko Administration: Ukraine to apply for EU membership in 2020

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

KYIV. Oct 8 (Interfax) – The Reform Strategy 2020 put forward by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko envisages Ukraine’s application for European Union membership in 2020, first deputy head of the Ukrainian Presidential Administration Hennadiy Zubko said. Zubko made the statement at a meeting with Zhytomyr region officials as he was presenting the reform program, the presidential press service said on […]

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EU mulls tougher sanctions on Russia as Donbass rebels advance

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 3, 2014) The EU is considering expanding sanctions against Russia if rebels in Eastern Ukraine move to capture Donetsk airport or the port city of Mariupol. Bloomberg cited a source close to the German government on October 2 discussing the option of expanding sanctions against Russia if Donetsk airport or Mariupol were taken. […]

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RIA Novosti: Why EU Sanctions Are Illegal and Why That Won’t Change Anything

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(RIA Novosti –  Alexander Mercouris, London-based lawyer –  LONDON, October 2, 2014) The EU repeatedly boasts of its commitment to the rule of law. In reality, the legal basis of the sanctions it has imposed on Russia is extremely dubious. However, past experience shows that even when the EU’s own courts declare sanctions illegal, the EU, despite its fulsome proclamations, […]

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