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Dec 4, 2014

EU’s Juncker says South Stream pipeline can still be built

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.

Dec 3, 2014

U.S.-led coalition has weakened Islamic State, Kerry says

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.

Dec 2, 2014

Germany wants NATO-Russia channel to avoid accidental escalation

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.

Dec 1, 2014

Russian jets pose threat to civilian planes, U.S. envoy says

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.

Dec 1, 2014

NATO chief accuses Russia of violating Ukraine ceasefire

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.

Nov 27, 2014

NATO wrestles with new fast-reaction force prompted by Ukraine crisis

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.

Nov 17, 2014

EU set to target Ukraine separatists but Russia sanctions may wait

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.

Nov 14, 2014

EU wants economic plan from Kiev before hosting donors’ meeting

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.

Nov 13, 2014

EU set to leave decisions on tougher Russia sanctions to leaders

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.

Nov 12, 2014

Sharp fall in oil price poses concern for Kazakhstan

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Kazakhstan is concerned about falls in the oil price, which have had a “tangible” impact on the Central Asian oil producer, the country’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Economic uncertainty, due to fallout from the Ukraine crisis and the drop in oil prices, led Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Tuesday to tap some of the country’s $77 billion oil fund to bolster economic growth.

    • About Adrian

      "I am part of Reuters UK reporting team, writing mainly about UK politics and foreign policy. My previous postings with Reuters were in Spain, Belgium, the United States, Colombia, Nicaragua and South Africa."
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