Category Archives: Europe, EU

The Riga summit of disappointment

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – May 21, 2015) Several plucky countries of Emerging Europe have put their necks on the block by defying Russian bullying to join its Customs Union, turning instead to the EU and its promise of a better life. But most of these countries are likely to be disappointed, or could […]

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Russian Gas: There Is No Alternative For Europe

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(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – May 17, 2015) The sanctions are now in their second year; the ruble is still not quite itself; and national champions Gazprom and Rosneft are both bracing for what can generously be called a down year. Still, while Russia’s political relationship with the west continues to be redefined, the broader element of codependence remains relatively […]

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NEWSLINK Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Reform as Resilience: An Agenda for the Eastern Partnership.

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The EU needs to remold its support for fundamental political reform in Eastern Partnership partner states—and use this as a firmer base from which to assuage tensions with Russia. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Thomas de Waal and Richard Youngs, Reform as Resilience: An Agenda for the Eastern Partnership.

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Russia Was Right: Shale in Europe Has Proved a Dud

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ladka Mortkowitz Bauerova – May 11, 2015) When Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. opened an office in Poland in 2009, it had a reason to be optimistic: the shale boom was transforming the U.S. into the world’s largest producer of natural gas. To the companies rushing to imitate that success in Europe, Poland looked like the next Texas. […]

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EU Says No Visa Liberalization For Ukraine And Georgia

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – May 8, 2015) The EU Commission has said neither Georgia nor Ukraine would obtain visa-free travel to the EU’s Schengen zone at the Riga Eastern Partnership Summit later this month. Speaking in Brussels on May 8 after the EU Commission published its annual visa report on both countries, the spokeswoman for home affairs, Natasha Bertaud, said […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: In Talks With Merkel, Putin Calls for Improving Relations With Europe

Map of Germany

President Vladimir V. Putin used a visit on Sunday by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to call for a return to normal relations with Europe, brushing aside the widespread boycott by Western leaders of the huge Victory Day parade on Red Square a day earlier.

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: EU’s top diplomat says destabilized Russia in nobody’s interest

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Reuters covers the views of Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the EU Commission. A destabilized and isolated Russia is in nobody’s interests, and sanctions are only being kept in place because a truce agreement in the conflict in Ukraine is not being fully implemented, the European Union’s foreign policy […]

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Interfax: Russia ready to cooperate with West in tackling terror, regional conflicts – Sergei Ivanov

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

(Interfax – May 2, 2015) Russia will still cooperate with the United States and Europe in fighting terrorism, resolving regional conflicts and countering other modern challenges, if partners are keen on that, says Sergei Ivanov, the chief of the Russian presidential administration. “New threats and challenges emerged, for example, terrorism, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, regional conflicts. Russia […]

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EU-Ukraine free trade talks with Russia likely to go nowhere

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – TRADE BLOG: Iana Dreyer in Brussels – April 27, 2015) The likelihood of trilateral talks involving Ukraine, the EU and Russia over Ukraine’s implementation of the deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA) embedded in its Association Agreement with the EU – the deal that triggered the Ukraine crisis – is low. The continuing […]

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Poroshenko calls on EU leaders to give Ukraine prospect of EU membership

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KYIV. April 27 (Interfax) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called on the European Union to give Ukraine the prospect of EU membership. “I am calling on the EU to admit that Ukraine, like any other European state that respects and is ready to defend common values, can become an EU member in the future, supporting ambitions for European integration […]

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Europe’s historic lack of economic engagement with Russia

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – COMMENT: Ousmène Mandeng in London – April 27, 2015) The alienation felt between the EU and Russia has seemingly deepened to a post-Soviet Union low. This may in large part be due to the fact that Europe has never fully engaged with Russia economically in the first place. At the third “East Forum Berlin” held on April […]

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Russia Says Ukraine Must Be ‘Neutral’ as It Accuses U.S., NATO

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Daryna Krasnolutska, Volodymyr Verbyany – April 22, 2015) Russia said it wants a “neutral” and unified Ukraine as it accused the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of seeking to turn its neighbor into a hostile state. The U.S. wields enormous influence over Ukraine, while Russia wants the people of its “near neighbor” to have a […]

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NEWSLINK Stratfor: Russia Changes Its Tone

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

Over the weekend, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin appeared to soften his line against the West, particularly the United States. Having previously stated that the United States has no allies, only vassals, Putin this time said: “We have some disagreements on several issues on the international agenda. But at the same time there is something that unites us, forces us to […]

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Is Gazprom’s changing export strategy a threat to Europe?

Gas Flame file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – James Henderson – April 17, 2015) James Henderson is Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies The visit of Chinese Premier Xi Jinping to Moscow in May to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II could also mark the next stage in Russia’s “pivot to Asia” if, as some […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: War and poverty bring doubt to heartland of Ukraine’s pro-Europe revolt

File Photo of Street in Lviv

When Ukrainians toppled a pro-Russian president last year, nowhere was the euphoria greater than in Lviv, a short drive from the EU border, where people have dreamt for generations of escaping Moscow’s orbit to join the West. More than a year of war and economic collapse later, nowhere else has the disillusionment been felt more harshly.

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Swedish Admiral Admits ‘Russian Submarine’ Was Actually Civilian Boat

Map of Sweden and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Spinella – April 14, 2015) A photo that a retired Swedish naval officer said showed a Russian submarine in Swedish waters last autumn was actually of a much smaller civilian boat, a Swedish admiral told his country’s media Monday. “Analysis revealed that the photograph taken in Stockholm’s inner archipelago was of a smaller boat,” […]

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NEWSLINK Forbes: Here’s Where Russia Shipped Oil Last Year As Ukraine, Europe Diversified.

Oil Wells File Photo

Russian oil companies are diversifying slowly away from their dependence on the European Union, just as the E.U. does the same with its long-time supplier of oil and natural gas. As a result, Russian exports to Germany — its most important market — fell between 2014 and 2013. And Ukraine shipments have fallen by nearly half.   Forbes.com: Kenneth Rapoza, […]

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Will Putin Rescue Greece’s Tsipras?

Ancient Temple Ruins in Greece with Tourists

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – April 7, 2015) As Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras prepares for talks with President Vladimir Putin during a visit to Moscow beginning on Wednesday, experts, officials and European leaders have been left guessing whether the two men might hammer out an economic deal. The meeting was announced less than a month ago […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Lausanne agreement: Russia and Iran to maintain ties, but EU is real winner

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – April 6, 2015) Talks between Iran and the P5+1 in Switzerland on Tehran’s nuclear program ended on April 2 with a joint accord aimed at paving the way for a comprehensive agreement and the eventual lifting of sanctions on Iran. While Moscow sees the compromise as a triumph for international diplomacy, experts believe […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Greece Should Be Wary of Mr. Putin

Ancient Temple Ruins in Greece with Tourists

The Greek government is facing a series of daunting challenges. It has to come up with money to pay off maturing debts, revive its devastated economy and renegotiate its loan agreements with other countries in the eurozone. Given those difficulties, it might be tempting — though misguided — for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to seek financial or other support from […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: As Tensions With West Rise, Russia Increasingly Rattles Nuclear Saber. Bellicose rhetoric has soared since start of Ukraine conflict to rival Cold War levels

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

Amid the wave of bellicose rhetoric that has swelled in Moscow since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, officials as high up as President Vladimir Putin have been making open nuclear threats, a public saber-rattling with weapons of mass destruction largely unseen even in the days of the Cold War. Remarks about Russia’s nuclear strength play well to Mr. […]

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VIDEO NEWSWATCH Legatum Insitute: The Menace of Unreality: Combating Russian Disinformation in the 21st Century.

Satellite Dishes

The Legatum Institute, on Oct. 14, 2014, hosted a panel discussion on “The Menace of Unreality: Combatting Russian Disinformation in the 21st Century.”  The event featured Anne Applebaum, Director of the Legatum Institute’s Transitions Forum, Geoffrey Pyatt, US Ambassador to Ukraine, Oleksander Scherba, Ambassador at Large at the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Michael Weiss, Editor-in-Chief of The Interpreter, Peter Pomerantsev, journalist […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Russia’s Ideology: There Is No Truth

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

IMAGINE if you grew up lying. Not a little bit, for convenience, but during every public moment of your life: at school, at work, at social events. You had to lie to survive, because the punishment for telling the truth was the loss of your academic or professional career, or even prison. For Russians who came of age before 1991, […]

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NEWSLINK Epoch Times: Russia’s Weapon of Choice: Information Warfare

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

With its annexation of Crimea, aggression in the eastern Ukraine, and military and economic threats to NATO nations, the Kremlin has resumed a new kind of Cold War. Regardless of what Vladimir Putin may say, his motives are not benign. The West has reacted with surprise, confusion, paralysis, and mostly inaction.   Epoch Times: Russia’s Weapon of Choice: Information Warfare. […]

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Not all EU-Russia trade disputes are about politics

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Iana Dreyer in Brussels – April 2, 2015) It looks like part of the trade war, but it isn’t. The World Trade Organization is about to set up its fourth dispute settlement panel in two years between Brussels and Moscow. One could mistake this as a sign of the growing trade tensions amid the […]

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NEWSWATCH AP: American farmer among the winners in sanctions-hit Russia

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[“American farmer among the winners in sanctions-hit Russia” – AP – James Ellingsworth – Apr. 1, 2015] AP examines the impact of Ukraine-related Western sanctions on Russia, such as increased prices for some farmers, instability in international projects, and evolving energy relations between Russia and China. The impact of sanctions, and a Russian embargo, on agriculture is apparently mixed. Russia’s ‘counter-sanctions’ ban on food imports […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Times: Russia’s grab for its neighbors; ‘Europe whole and free’ should be more than a slogan

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[“Russia’s grab for its neighbors: ‘Europe whole and free’ should be more than a slogan’” – Washington Times – Paula Dobriansky, Blaise Misztal – March 29, 2015] Writing in the Washington Times, Paula Dobriansky and Blaise Misztal address concerns about Russia’s impact on peace, security and economic stability in Europe. They also assess the prospects for political consensus in the United States to […]

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NEWSWATCH STRATFOR: The West Hems in Russia Little by Little

Map of U.S. Military Activities in Europe

[“The West Hems in Russia Little by Little” – Stratfor.com – March 30, 2015] Stratfor considers bolstered U.S. military activities in Europe, including in the vicinity of Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin must be feeling very claustrophobic these days. … All along Russia’s frontier with Europe, the U.S. military is bustling with activity. Bit by bit, the United States is expanding various military exercises […]

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NEWSLINK ReadRussia: How Not to Influence People. Russia’s “tough” posturing just makes it look ridiculous

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear missiles” isn’t the most intuitive headline in the world. Indeed it sounds like something from a parody magazine or from a clumsy remake of Dr. Strangelove. If Denmark is famous for anything (a contentious proposition, but indulge me) it’s precisely because it is inoffensive and non-threatening. It’s a small, rich, tolerant country sandwiched between Germany […]

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Sanctions and Regime Survival

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Mark Kramer, Director, Cold War Studies Program, and Senior Fellow, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University – March 11, 2015 – article also appeared at ponarseurasia.org/article/sanctions-and-regime-survival) Some debates never die; they just get replayed. After the Soviet Army invaded Afghanistan in late December 1979, the United States imposed economic sanctions against the USSR. The Russian Federation since […]

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Ukrainians Fear Russia But Don’t Trust EU

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 20, 2015) Since the Maidan, a new Kyiv poll shows, the share of Ukrainians favoring EU integration has risen from 41 percent to 47.2 percent since the Maidan, while the share of those backing integration with Moscow has fallen from 35 percent to 12.3 percent. At the same time, the portion […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: U.S. faces meager options for further Russia energy sanctions

Oil Wells File Photo

[“U.S. faces meager options for further Russia energy sanctions” – Reuters – Timothy Gardner – March 23, 2015] Reuters examines Western sanctions on Russia, including some of the remaining options for energy-related sanctions. Energy is the economic lifeblood of Russia, which vies with the United States and Saudi Arabia to be the world’s top oil producer …the sector is the main target of […]

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NEWSWATCH Georgetown Journal of International Affairs: Inequality: The Ukraine Invasion and Public Opinion

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

[“The Ukraine Invasion and Public Opinion” – Georgetown Journal of International Affairs –  Harley Balzer – March 20, 2015]  Writing in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Professor Harley Balzer examines various aspects of Russian involvement in the Ukraine conflict, such as Ukrainian and Russian public opinion, foreign policy considerations and the relevance of Russian public opinion to Russian policymaking. […]

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Rethinking Eurasia’s future

Eurasia Map

While an economic and political union between Russia and Europe is unlikely, it could serve the interests of both sides in an increasingly hostile world. (opendemocracy.net – Nicholas Ross Smith and Zbigniew Dumienski – March 17, 2015) Nicholas Ross Smith is a researcher at the University of Auckland, New Zealand in the field of international relations. He has published extensively […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Bringing Ukraine Back From the Brink; An economically successful Ukraine is vital to the security of Europe and the sustainability of democratic values everywhere

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A little more than a year ago, the Ukrainian people chose a path of fundamental change. Citizens took a stand in Kyiv’s Maidan Square for the right to live in a free, independent and prosperous European country and to put an end to endemic corruption and mismanagement. More than 100 people gave their lives during the Revolution of Dignity. Since […]

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Interfax: Russia ready for new agreement on conventional weapons in Europe

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(Interfax – March 11, 2015) Russia is ready for negotiations concerning a new treaty regarding the control of conventional weapons in Europe, Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department on non-proliferation and arms control issues, said. “We are ready to consider the possibility and hold appropriate negotiations regarding a new agreement that is in line with the new […]

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Interfax: Wikileaks prompted Russia to suspend Joint Consultative Group on CFE participation – Russian Foreign Ministry

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(Interfax – March 11, 2015) Russia decided to suspend its work in the Joint Consultative Group on the CFE Treaty because it could not use this format to discuss issues relating to conventional weapons control in Europe, Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department on non-proliferation and arms control issues, said. “When Wikileaks published secret documents, Department of State […]

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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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