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Merkel: EU strategy is to maintain Russia sanctions

Today @ 01:36

Germany has warned the EU will not roll back Russia sanctions unless Vladimir Putin makes major concessions, in Europe’s first “strategic” talks on the crisis. Chancellor Angela Merkel told press at an EU summit on ...

Russian economic turmoil to last two years

18.12.14 @ 18:14

Russia’s economic turmoil could last at least two years, president Vladimir Putin said on Thursday (18 December). Speaking at his end of year news conference in Moscow on Thursday (18 December) against the backdrop of a ...

EU's Crimea sanctions to give Putin new headache

18.12.14 @ 13:33

The EU will, from Saturday (20 December), ban almost all forms of business co-operation with Crimea in a further blow to the Russian economy. The new law - agreed on Thursday and seen by EUobserver - is designed to give ...

EU leaders hold 'Coke Light' summit on investments, Russia

17.12.14 @ 17:34

The first EU summit chaired by Donald Tusk, the new EU council president, already has a nickname: “Coke Light”. The term was coined by Liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian Prime Minister, who at one point ...

Russian rouble in free fall over oil price, EU sanctions

16.12.14 @ 09:29

In a surprise announcement on Monday (15 December), the Russian central bank said it would raise its key interest rate to 17 percent from 10.5 percent. The move is aimed at shoring up the tumbling currency as the ...

OpinionRussia needs its Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung

15.12.14 @ 11:40

It is clear that Russia under the current leadership keeps pushing the envelope and it will not stop until stopped. In the short and medium term, European countries can be protected from Russian incursions, pardon ...

Russia targets Cyprus, Hungary, and Italy for sanctions veto

11.12.14 @ 21:57

Moscow has begun lobbying what it sees as sympathetic EU capitals - Budapest, Nicosia, and Rome - to veto next year's renewal of Russia sanctions. The first batch of EU measures - an asset freeze on Ukraine’s former ...

EU leaders to pledge more Ukraine money, threaten Russia sanctions

10.12.14 @ 09:29

The EU is prepared to inject more money into Ukraine and to impose further sanctions on Russia if need be, draft summit conclusions say. The provisional text - agreed by EU states ambassadors’ on Monday (8 December) and ...

EU meeting turns into South Stream funeral

09.12.14 @ 20:46

EU states who were to have hosted Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline have begun looking for other ways to improve energy security. The eight countries’ energy ministers held talks in Brussels on Tuesday (9 December) ...

Merkel 'frustrated' with Putin, her top Russia aide says

09.12.14 @ 09:33

German chancellor Angela Merkel’s top aide on Russia has said she is “frustrated” by Moscow’s broken promises, while raising the alarm on Russian air manoeuvres. Gernot Erler spoke to Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza on ...

OpinionA United Eurasia from Lisbon to Vladivostok?

05.12.14 @ 10:26

As I listened, earlier this year, to the final speech by Stefan Fuele, the former commissioner for neighbourhood policy, in which he mentioned the necessity of building a free-trade zone from Vancouver to Vladivostok, I ...

Juncker calls Putin's bluff on South Stream

04.12.14 @ 15:27

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday (4 December) called Vladimir Putin's bluff on a ditched gas pipeline project, South Stream. Juncker said the commission's view is that "South Stream can be built ...

Putin says will not build South Stream gas pipeline

02.12.14 @ 09:28

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has said he will no longer build the South Stream gas pipeline due to EU opposition. He made the announcement in Ankara on Monday (1 December) at a press briefing with Turkish leader Recep ...

Mediapart: Former Russian spy lent €2mn to Le Pen senior

01.12.14 @ 09:24

A former KGB officer lent €2 million to Jean-Marie Le Pen, the president of the National Front, on top of other Russian loans to the French far-right party, Mediapart reports. The Paris-based online news agency said on ...

EU blacklists 13 Ukrainians over Russia war

27.11.14 @ 18:10

EU countries have blacklisted 13 Ukrainian “separatists” and five entities, amid uncertainty on what to do if the conflict escalates. Ambassadors agreed the list in what one EU source described as “quick” and “easy” ...

Mediapart: National Front's Kremlin loan is worth €40mn

27.11.14 @ 09:28

The far-right French party, the National Front, is in talks with a Kremlin-linked bank to borrow €40 million to win power in France, Mediapart reports. The Paris-based online investigative journal last weekend said ...

Reports multiply of Kremlin links to anti-EU parties

26.11.14 @ 09:29

Austria’s far-right FPO party has defended its relations with the Kremlin, amid signs of a wider Russian strategy to build ties with anti-EU parties. The FPO leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, in a statement published on ...

FeatureInvitations sent out for next EU-Russia 'summit'

25.11.14 @ 21:01

Russia’s Vladimir Putin became persona non grata in EU capitals when he annexed Crimea. They didn’t blacklist him. But, in March, EU leaders decided to “cancel the next EU-Russia summit” and to “not hold bilateral ...

Le Pen borrowed €9mn from Kremlin-linked bank

24.11.14 @ 09:28

The far-right French party, Front National (FN), borrowed €9 million from a Russian bank, posing questions over its relationship with the Kremlin. The loan, by the First Czech Russian Bank (FCRB), was granted in late ...

Nato warns of Russian military build-up, amid EU peace talks

18.11.14 @ 12:09

Nato has again warned of a “build-up” of “Russian forces” in and around Ukraine, one day after EU ministers shied away from Russia criticism. Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg told press in Brussels on Tuesday (18 November): ...

EU countries keen to rebuild Russia relations

17.11.14 @ 19:34

Forty eight hours after Nato said Russia is pouring fresh troops into Ukraine, EU ministers opted to blacklist some “separatists” while trying to restart talks with Moscow. The foreign ministers, who met in Brussels on ...

Merkel: Russia cannot veto EU expansion

17.11.14 @ 12:36

Germany has warned that Russia might try to spread its “sphere of influence” to the Western Balkans, while seeking new ways to make peace on Ukraine. “Who would have thought it possible that 25 years after the fall of ...

MEPs to Mogherini: Stop ignoring us on Russia sanctions

14.11.14 @ 09:28

A cross-party group of MEPs has urged the EU foreign service to stop ignoring the European Parliament on Magnitsky sanctions. Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian anti-corruption activist, died in jail in 2009 in what EU Council ...

Russian military trying to intimidate Nato, report says

10.11.14 @ 09:27

Russia has, in parallel with its war on Ukraine, instigated almost 40 “highly disturbing” anti-Nato incidents, a new British report says. The survey - Dangerous Brinkmanship, by the London-based think-tank ELN, out on ...

InterviewKasparov: Stop Putin now or pay the price later

09.11.14 @ 17:03

Chess legend Garry Kasparov was once the pride of the Soviet Union. But 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall he lives in exile, accusing Russian leader Vladimir Putin of “strategic failure” and the EU ...

LetterUkraine reporting should be more nuanced

07.11.14 @ 09:49

I would like to react to Andrew Rettman's article Former Polish FM causes furore over Russia interview, in which he writes that “Ukraine has been de facto partitioned into an EU and US protectorate in the west and ...

Hungary moves ahead with South Stream pipeline

05.11.14 @ 10:01

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban on Tuesday reiterated his support for the Russian-backed South Stream natural gas pipeline after parliament gave the green light to a law seen as paving the way for its construction ...

EU lodges new WTO protest against Russia

31.10.14 @ 18:35

The EU lodged its fourth formal complaint against Russia to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Friday in the latest round of the trade battle between the two blocs. Brussels' ire is focused this time on import duties ...

'No one to stay cold', as Russia and Ukraine clinch winter gas deal

31.10.14 @ 09:29

Ukraine and Russia have agreed terms on winter gas supplies in a deal the EU says will contribute to “de-escalation” of the military conflict. The breakthrough was sealed at a signing ceremony and press conference in ...

France denies warship delivery, as Russian bombers skirt EU airspace

30.10.14 @ 09:57

France's controversial warship deal with Russia is hitting the headlines again, with a cacophony of statements and denials after a Russian minister published a French invitation to the hand-over ceremony. Russian deputy ...

EU-brokered gas talks bedevilled by ‘lack of trust’

30.10.14 @ 09:29

Negotiators are struggling to secure EU winter gas supplies, with Ukraine saying chances of a deal are “pretty high”, but complaining of “lack of trust”. EU-brokered talks between Russia and Ukraine’s energy ministers ...

Merkel criticises Putin for broken promise on Ukraine

24.10.14 @ 03:59

Most EU leaders on Thursday (23 October) criticised Russia’s non-compliance with peace accords on Ukraine, but Italy urged re-engagement with Moscow. German chancellor Angela Merkel told press after the summit in ...

Still no Russia gas deal as Europe heads into winter

22.10.14 @ 08:37

With temperatures already near freezing in eastern Europe, Ukraine will hold elections on Sunday (26 October) amid uncertainty on Russian gas supplies. The situation arises after EU, Russian, and Ukrainian negotiators ...

EU to uphold Russia sanctions

21.10.14 @ 09:29

EU states decided to uphold sanctions on Russia and to better co-ordinate their response to the Ebola crisis at a meeting of foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday (20 October). Polish FM Grzegorz Schetyna told press ...

Putin makes nice on Ukraine at EU-Russia mini-summit

17.10.14 @ 19:55

Russian leader Vladimir Putin told EU leaders he wants pro-Russia rebels to make peace with Ukraine at a meeting in Milan on Friday (17 October). Coming out of the talks, British PM David Cameron noted: “Putin said very ...

Russian gas less mighty than it looks, EU says

16.10.14 @ 21:55

A Russian gas cut-off would have a “substantial impact” on eastern Europe, but even the most vulnerable countries - Bulgaria, Estonia, and Finland - could get through the winter. The European Commission “stress test”, ...

Serbia refuses to join EU sanctions on eve of Putin parade

15.10.14 @ 09:26

Serbia has promised not to impose EU-model sanctions on Russia and to go ahead with South Stream on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s visit to Belgrade. Its PM, Aleksandar Vucic, said in Russia's Tass news agency on Wednesday ...

International banking giant pressured to block Israel and Russia

07.10.14 @ 09:29

The international wire transfer system Swift will not block Russia or Israel from its services following requests for it to do so. The Belgian-based firm on Monday (6 October) said it had received calls to disconnect ...

EU puts pressure on Serbia to stop South Stream gas pipeline

07.10.14 @ 09:18

The European Commission is to tell Serbia its accession prospects will suffer if it builds South Stream, a Russian gas pipeline. It says in its annual enlargement report, out on Wednesday (8 October), that “the ...

FocusRusskiy Mir in the EU?

07.10.14 @ 07:36

Welcome to Latgale in south-east Latvia: If there is any EU region which looks like a soft target for Russian-manufactured separatism, this is it. The street names may be in Latvian, but most people - more than 70 ...

Russia's information war in Lithuania

06.10.14 @ 09:28

It is hard to find anyone in Lithuania who does not believe that Russia's propaganda campaigns in the Baltic EU member state have been growing in intensity. There has been an increasing number of pro-Soviet commentary ...

The new Polish government: What to expect?

02.10.14 @ 09:29

Poland's new prime minister, Ewa Kopacz, presented her government’s agenda on Wednesday (1 October) in a speech in front of the parliament that showed that on EU questions Warsaw is unlikely to look much different. ...

'Frozen conflict' looming in east Ukraine, EU diplomats say

01.10.14 @ 09:49

EU countries have decided to uphold Russia sanctions for now, despite a “weakening appetite” for the measures. The EU foreign service on Tuesday (30 September) said that “while encouraging developments have been ...

AnalysisCould Putin's troops 'be in Warsaw in two days'?

30.09.14 @ 11:18

“If I wanted, in two days I could have Russian troops not only in Kiev, but also in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw, and Bucharest”, Russian leader Vladimir Putin said, according to a report in Germany’s Suddeutsche ...

Ukraine wary of EU's Russia gas deal

29.09.14 @ 18:12

The EU is keen for Ukraine to accept a winter deal on Russian gas, but Ukraine is wary of the terms and of broader EU-Russia energy ties. The deal - put forward by the European Commission in talks in Berlin last Friday ...

EU says No to Russia on rewriting Ukraine pact

26.09.14 @ 16:26

EU countries are planning to tell Russia it has no say on changing the Ukraine trade treaty despite its demands to rewrite the text. The joint declaration, by the EU Council and European Commission, is to say the trade ...

Russia threatens EU states with gas cut-offs

26.09.14 @ 09:40

Russian energy minister Alexander Novak has warned that EU states which re-export gas to Ukraine will face cut-offs, with Hungary already stopping its reverse flow. Novak spoke in German daily Handelsblatt on Friday (26 ...

OpinionRussia sanctions and the EU: What went wrong?

23.09.14 @ 09:07

Last March – after months of escalation in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine – President Obama initiated sanctions against Russia in financial services, energy, defence and related materials sectors. New sanctions ensued ...

EU struggling to cope with Russia food ban

16.09.14 @ 13:26

The EU is preparing to unveil new aid for EU fruit producers hit by the Russia food ban. Agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos promised extra assistance in the coming days for suppliers of citrus fruit, apples, and ...

Nato describes Russia and Islamic State as main threats

15.09.14 @ 16:02

Nato has described Russia and Islamic State (IS) as the main threats to Western security, but says it can still talk to Russia despite its invasion of Ukraine. Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen likened Russia ...