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EU ElectionsEU elections may strengthen Putin in Europe

Today @ 09:29

Far-right parties are set to do well in next month’s elections to the European Parliament, a fact that has thrown a spotlight on their links with the Kremlin. A recent study by the Budapest-based Political Capital ...

US to send 600 troops to Baltics, Poland amid Ukraine tensions

Today @ 09:16

The US Tuesday (22 April) announced it is sending hundreds of troops for military exercises to four countries in Eastern Europe to assure them of its commitment to the region's defence amid ongoing tension in Ukraine. ...

Pro-Russia separatists reject EU and US-brokered pact

18.04.14 @ 17:22

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have declined to honour a peace deal brokered in Geneva by the EU and US with Russia. Denis Pushilin, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, told press on ...

Russia and China forge closer ties, as EU explores sanctions

17.04.14 @ 09:29

Russia is rolling out two major projects – a gas pipeline and a Crimea deep water port – with China, as EU countries and the US weigh options on economic sanctions. Russia’s ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, told ...

EU to expand Russia blacklist

15.04.14 @ 09:30

EU countries are to expand their Russia and Ukraine blacklists and to send a small team of security experts to Kiev. The decision, by foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday (14 April), came after pro-Russian ...

Putin threatens to cut gas to Ukraine, EU countries

10.04.14 @ 17:46

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has threatened to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine unless it starts repaying a huge debt and unless the EU agrees to joint talks on its economic future. He said in a letter sent to 18 ...

Steinmeier disagrees with German business chiefs on Russia

10.04.14 @ 09:30

German politicians are divided into two broad categories: 'Russia understanders' and 'Russia critics'. The doveish Social-Democrats (SPD), including two former chancellors - Gerhard Schroeder and Helmut Schmidt, who ...

US and EU prepare to strike Russian banks, energy firms

09.04.14 @ 09:29

The US and EU are preparing to strike at Russian banks, energy and minerals firms if Russia invades mainland Ukraine. Speaking to US senators in Washington on Tuesday (8 April) secretary of state John Kerry used blunt ...

Pussy Riot call for extra EU sanctions on Putin

02.04.14 @ 11:48

Two activists from the Pussy Riot punk group have urged EU politicians to heap sanctions on Russia’s elite to accelerate Vladimir Putin’s fall from power. Twenty-five-year old Masha Alyokhina and 24-year-old Nadya ...

OpinionA 10-step plan to making the EU a strategic actor

31.03.14 @ 08:30

The European Union’s awkward efforts to shape events in Ukraine and to deter Russia from taking actions that threaten the EU’s interests and values there, like the EU’s massive failures in the former Yugoslavia two ...

German central bank: Russia has more to lose than we do

26.03.14 @ 09:29

German central bank chief Jens Weidmann said on Tuesday (25 March) that Russia has more to lose than Europe if economic sanctions are imposed over its actions in Ukraine. "The escalation of the conflict has resulted in ...

Brazil, China, India rally round Russia after G7 snub

25.03.14 @ 09:29

The G7 club of wealthy nations has cancelled a summit with Russia over its annexation of Crimea, but emerging economies have protested against its exclusion from a G20 meeting. The G7 leaders – from Britain, Canada, ...

Syrians and Russians top asylum demands to EU

25.03.14 @ 09:29

Syrians fleeing war and Russians topped the list of those asking for asylum in the EU last year. Figures released on Monday (24 March) from the EU statistical office, Eurostat, reveal Syrians top the list of asylum ...

Nato general warns about Moldova, Baltics

23.03.14 @ 22:42

Nato’s top general, Philip Breedlove, has warned that Russia has amassed enough troops on the eastern Ukrainian border for a new invasion and said Nato will mobilise troops to defend the Baltics if need be. "The force ...

OpinionPutin's calculations on Crimea

22.03.14 @ 20:48

The annexation of Crimea was a fait accompli in late February when Russian forces seized control of the peninsula, before anybody in Crimea cast a vote in the "referendum," before Russian leader Vladimir Putin signed ...

Russia to Europe: We can do whatever we want

22.03.14 @ 18:32

Foreign policy debates are usually a polite affair. Ideas may clash, but the exchange rarely gets personal. This was not the case on Friday (21 March) during the "Brussels Forum", an annual gathering of European and ...

EU leaders agree new Russia sanctions

21.03.14 @ 02:21

EU leaders have reacted to Russia's annexation of Crimea by blacklisting 12 new names and by agreeing to send EU peace monitors if need be. "We have 12 names and I can assure you that some of them are really high- ...

US blacklists Putin's bankers, as EU leaders meet

20.03.14 @ 19:09

The US has blacklisted Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s financial associates and personal confidantes, as EU leaders consider similar measures. The new US list of 20 people and one bank comes after Russia annexed Crimea ...

Nato chief: Crimea invasion could be just the beginning

20.03.14 @ 09:14

Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has warned Crimea could be the beginning of a wider military campaign, amid Russia's veiled threats against EU and Nato member Estonia. He told the Brookings Institution, a think tank in ...

Germany and UK diverge on Russia sanctions

19.03.14 @ 18:48

EU countries are heading into a summit on Thursday (20 March) nowhere near a consensus over what to do about Russia's annexation of Crimea and on how far economic sanctions should go. At the crux of the debates will be ...

EU and US impose first round of Russia blacklists

17.03.14 @ 18:28

The EU and US have blacklisted a handful of Russian officials and MPs over the partition of Ukraine, while threatening to go further if need be. The US visa ban and asset freeze names 11 people. Two of them - Sergey ...

Doing business with Russia: A German dilemma

17.03.14 @ 18:25

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a cautious politician. A natural scientist by formation, she never goes for bold statements unless they have been carefully weighed beforehand. By her standards, the speech in the ...

EU undecided on Russia sanctions ahead of Crimea vote

14.03.14 @ 20:15

Ukraine’s ambassador to the EU has appealed for European unity ahead of Sunday’s (16 March) “referendum” in Crimea. Kostyantin Yeliseyev told EUobserver on Friday that all 28 EU countries must put pressure on Moscow to ...

AgendaRussia sanctions to dominate this WEEK

14.03.14 @ 20:11

Possible EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine are set to dominate this week's agenda as heads of state and government gather in Brussels to discuss the implications of the referendum in Crimea. The EU leaders plan ...

Europe looking at alternatives to Russian gas

14.03.14 @ 20:04

EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday (20-21 March) will look at ways to lower the bloc's dependence on Russian gas, as they prepare economic sanctions against Moscow over Ukraine. "The European Council ...

Merkel: Comparing Crimea to Kosovo is 'shameful'

13.03.14 @ 11:34

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday (13 March) told the Bundestag it is "shameful" to compare the independence of Kosovo with the referendum for independence in Crimea and called on Russia to stop its actions in ...

Russia invites EU far-right to observe Crimea vote

13.03.14 @ 10:22

The Russian government has invited some of Europe's far-right parties to observe this weekend's referendum in Crimea. The leader of France’s National Front party, Marine Le Pen, told press at the European Parliament in ...

OpinionFrance and Germany should stop arms sales to Russia

11.03.14 @ 08:36

The EU says its sanctions against the Kremlin in the light of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine could involve suspending some military co-operation. The ambiguities of national positions and limitations of Western ...

EU leaders freeze Russia visa talks, threaten trade sanctions

06.03.14 @ 20:15

EU leaders have suspended talks on visa-free travel with Russia and threatened asset freezes and economic sanctions if the situation in Ukraine gets worse. The immediate cost of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea - ...

EU to approve €1.1bn Ukraine aid package

05.03.14 @ 09:30

The European Commission will officially agree to offer Ukraine €1.1 billion in emergency aid on Thursday (5 March), officials told EUobserver. The move amounts to a top-up of €500 million to a previous offer of €610 ...

OpinionUkraine: The Empire strikes back

03.03.14 @ 19:06

Two months ago the Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, warned his EU colleagues that after the Olympic Games in Sochi are over Russia intends to actively intrude in Ukrainian affairs. Did he have intelligence about ...

Nato supports Ukraine's territorial integrity against Russian occupation

03.03.14 @ 09:27

The allied countries under Nato command have condemned Russia’s military occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea, as world leaders threaten to oust Moscow from the G8 economic club. “Nato allies will continue to support ...

Germany calls for urgent EU meeting on Ukraine

01.03.14 @ 16:10

Germany’s foreign minister has said European states need to “gather quickly” to formulate a joint position on the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement on Saturday (1 March): "We are in ...

OpinionIs the EU ready for a common foreign policy?

18.02.14 @ 21:58

The question - whether the EU is mature enough to have a common foreign policy - needs to be asked in the light of recent comments by Gernot Erler and, indeed, Sergei Lavrov. Erler, who is a member of the Social ...

Pussy Riot: Magnitsky 'not an isolated case' in Putin's jails

10.02.14 @ 18:01

Two members of the Russian punk band "Pussy Riot" on Monday (10 February) rubbished President Vladimir Putin's amnesty law and said prison conditions are still as inhumane as they were for Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian ...

Dutch PM reminds Putin of gay rights at Sochi

08.02.14 @ 14:55

Dutch PM Mark Rutte, one of the few Western leaders to attend the Olympic festivities in Russia, used the occasion to highlight concerns on gay rights. He told press at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in ...

OpinionWaking up to reality on Ukraine

04.02.14 @ 12:09

A few days ago Leonid Kravchuk, the first post-independence president of Ukraine, said the country is gripped by revolution and that irresponsible decisions may lead to civil war. I heard something like this at almost ...

Ukraine crisis creates bad will between Nato and Russia

01.02.14 @ 14:37

The Ukraine crisis is creating new mistrust between Nato and Russia. Nato head Anders Fogh Rasmussen and US secretary of state John Kerry criticised Russia’s conduct in Ukraine and in the former Soviet region in general ...

EU envisages minimalist Russia talks on Ukraine trade pact

29.01.14 @ 20:11

Low-level EU officials will hold two or three small meetings with Russian counterparts in a bid to convince the Kremlin that the bloc’s free trade pacts with former Soviet countries will not harm Russia's economy. EU ...

EU and Russia launch new talks on former Soviet states

28.01.14 @ 19:33

The EU and Russia have launched new talks to reassure the Kremlin that free trade pacts with former Soviet countries will not harm Russia’s economic interests. EU officials made the announcement at a summit with Russian ...

OpinionNo good news from Moscow

28.01.14 @ 14:40

This week’s summit has already been downgraded to a brief encounter between the European Union and Russian leaders and will not be able to overcome the deep rift which is widening between the EU and Moscow. The ...

OpinionEU should put Russia visa-free talks on hold

27.01.14 @ 10:01

On Tuesday (28 January), EU and Russian leaders will meet in Brussels for the regular, twice-yearly, EU-Russia summit. Outside the EU headquarters, human rights organisations will stage a large protest to call attention ...

AgendaGreece, banking union and Putin dominate this WEEK

27.01.14 @ 09:27

Russian President Vladimir Putin will be in town on Tuesday (28 January) for the 32nd EU-Russia summit, with the volatile situation in Ukraine likely to be the elephant in the room. Relations between Moscow and Brussels ...

Russia repeats criticism of EU attitude on gay rights

24.01.14 @ 09:29

The Russian foreign ministry has hit back at EU criticism on gay rights in Russia ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Brussels and the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Konstantin Dolgov, an official tasked with ...

Questions emerge on Germany's new Russia policy

15.01.14 @ 10:01

The prospect of German support for holding joint EU-Russia-Ukraine talks on Ukraine’s future is causing consternation in some EU circles. The idea was first put forward by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych last ...

Merkel caves in on Russia appointment

10.01.14 @ 09:40

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday (9 January) accepted the appointment of a pro-Moscow veteran as special coordinator for Russia policy, a concession made to her coalition partner. Gernot Erler, who will turn ...

Russia's first WTO trade dispute targets EU duties

07.01.14 @ 08:46

Russia has taken aim at the EU, filing its first trade dispute to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in protest against anti-dumping duties imposed by Brussels. In a statement on Monday (6 January), the Swiss-based WTO, ...

EU-Russia relations at low ebb, despite 'humour'

16.12.13 @ 21:21

EU foreign ministers and Russia's Sergei Lavrov failed to find common ground on Ukraine at a meeting in Brussels on Monday (16 December). Two of the EU delegates remarked that Lavrov was in good spirits. "There was lots ...

AgendaEU leaders meet this WEEK

16.12.13 @ 08:54

EU leaders gather in Brussels for their last summit of the year with a discussion agenda that includes economic integration, jobs and defence. Pre-prepared conclusions for the summit show member states are willing to ...

EU to complain to Russia on Ukraine

29.11.13 @ 18:04

EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy has said he will urge Russian leader Vladimir Putin to stop bullying former Soviet countries at the next EU-Russia summit. Van Rompuy spoke on Friday (29 November) in Vilnius at an ...