BRUSSELS, Dec 4 (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s economy is being
badly hurt by European Union economic sanctions against Russia,
its prime minister said on Thursday.
EU member states such as Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia,
which are heavily dependent on Russian energy, have only
reluctantly gone along with the sanctions, imposed over Russia’s
annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. The measures targeted
Russia’s financial, defence and energy sectors, and Russia hit
back by banning most food imports from the EU.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has insisted the $40 billion South Stream natural gas pipeline can still go ahead and accused Russia of holding EU-member Bulgaria to ransom when it said it had abandoned the project.
Speaking after talks with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, whose country South Stream would traverse making it a major beneficiary, Juncker rebutted Russia’s statement that EU competition rules had killed it.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The U.S.-led coalition has inflicted serious damage on Islamic State, carrying out around 1,000 air strikes so far in Iraq and Syria, but the fight against the militants could last years, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.
The United States and its allies began air strikes against Islamic State after the Sunni militants made large territorial advances last summer. The Iraqi army, Sunni tribal fighters and Kurdish forces have since recovered some ground against them.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Germany urged NATO on Tuesday to set up an early warning system with Russia to prevent any military accident from spiraling out of control.
NATO’s ties with Moscow have hit a post-Cold War low over Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and what the alliance says is Russian backing for separatists in the east of the former Soviet republic.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russian military aircraft are posing a threat to civilian planes by turning off communications devices and failing to file flight plans, the U.S. ambassador to NATO said on Monday.
Russia has stepped up flights near NATO’s borders in 2013, the alliance says, coinciding with increased East-West tension over Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis. NATO aircraft have scrambled more than 400 times this year to intercept Russian aircraft, up 50 percent from the 2013 total.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg accused Russia on Monday of violating a ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine by sending large deliveries of advanced weapons to pro-Russian separatists.
Ukraine said on Sunday that a convoy of 106 vehicles had entered its eastern territory from Russia without Kiev’s permission and accused Moscow of using humanitarian aid shipments to send weapons and ammunition to separatist rebels.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO’s planned new fast-reaction force, centerpiece of its response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, is proving harder to set up than expected because of shortages of vital equipment and arguments over funding, diplomats say.
NATO leaders meeting in Wales in September agreed on a new “spearhead” force of up to 5,000 ground troops with air, sea and special forces support as part of a plan to reassure eastern European allies nervous about Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
BRUSSELS, (Reuters) – European Union governments may agree to impose personal sanctions on more Russian-backed rebels on Monday in response to a separatist vote in eastern Ukraine, but are unlikely to discuss new steps against Russia itself until mid-December, officials said.
EU foreign ministers discussed how to respond to the Nov. 2 separatist election, which they say has no legal basis, as well as ways to launch reforms in Ukraine and engage Russia in finding a solution to the conflict.
BRUSSELS, Nov 14 (Reuters) – The European Union is refusing
to organise a donors’ conference to help cash-strapped Ukraine
until Kiev produces a detailed blueprint for the country’s
economic development, a top EU official said on Friday.
Brussels has said previously it was ready to host a donors’
conference to raise funds for Ukraine, particularly eastern
regions torn by a separatist uprising.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – With European Union governments divided, a decision on whether to tighten economic sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict is likely to be left to EU leaders, who next meet in mid-December, diplomats said on Thursday.
EU foreign ministers will discuss Ukraine at a meeting in Brussels on Monday, the first chaired by the EU’s new foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. But no decisions on ratcheting up economic sanctions on Russia are expected despite the deteriorating security situation in eastern Ukraine.