BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO’s head warned on Thursday of a risk of a return to heavy fighting in Ukraine but said it would be unwise to declare a ceasefire agreement dead, despite repeated violations, because it remained the best hope for peace.
The Ukrainian military on Tuesday accused pro-Russian rebels of conducting long-range artillery attacks on villages in the east and said one of its serviceman was killed and 12 wounded in clashes in the previous 24 hours.
BRUSSELS, June 24 (Reuters) – The head of NATO said on
Wednesday the alliance would not be forced into a new arms race
with Russia but that what he called Moscow’s aggression in
Ukraine had compelled it to strengthen its defences.
The United States announced plans this week to station tanks
and heavy weapons in NATO member states on Russia’s border,
shortly after President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would add 40
missiles to its nuclear arsenal.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO is expected to announce soon a plan to advise the Iraqi government on reforming its security forces which are fighting back after collapsing in the face of an offensive by Islamic State fighters, NATO diplomats said on Tuesday.
Iraq asked NATO for help training its security forces last December after Islamic State captured large parts of Iraq.
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday he saw a good chance of reaching a final agreement with six world powers on Iran’s nuclear programme by a June 30 deadline or a few days later, provided there was political will.
Iran and the six powers – Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States – are trying to clinch a deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear programme for at least a decade in exchange for relief from sanctions.
LUXUMBOURG/BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – The EU warned Burundi on Monday it might impose sanctions on those responsible for violence and consider other steps against the aid-reliant nation, plunged into turmoil by the president’s plan to run for a third term.
A grenade attack killed four people on Sunday. President Pierre Nkurunziza’s opponents say his bid for another five years in office is unconstitutional, while he cites a court ruling that found he could run.
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – European Union foreign ministers extended economic sanctions on Russia until Jan. 31 on Monday, keeping up pressure on Moscow to help resolve the Ukraine conflict.
Russia described the move as a triumph for the “Russophobe” lobby in the EU and signaled it would respond by extending a ban on Western food imports, imposed in response to U.S. and European sanctions, for a further six months.
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – European Union foreign ministers agreed on Monday to launch a naval operation against gangs smuggling migrants to Europe from Libya, although the mission will be limited to intelligence-gathering for now due to lack of U.N. authority.
The operation is part of a stepped-up European response to a surge of migrants from Africa and the Middle East making the dangerous crossing from Libya to Europe.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU governments extended for a year a ban on trade and investment with Crimea on Friday, meaning European help for Russian Black Sea oil and gas exploration and visits by European cruise ships will remain outlawed.
The measures were adopted following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in March last year and reinforce the EU’s policy of not recognizing the annexation.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The EU is set to launch a naval mission on Monday against gangs smuggling migrants from Libya but it will be limited to intelligence-gathering for now because of a lack of U.N. authority or Libyan consent.
The operation is part of a stepped-up European response to a wave of thousands of people from Africa and the Middle East making the dangerous crossing from Libya to Europe.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The United States already has many of the tanks and other vehicles needed to equip an armoured brigade in Europe, but has not decided yet whether to store some of the hardware in eastern Europe, a top U.S. commander said on Wednesday.
U.S. officials said over the weekend that the United States planned to store heavy military equipment in the Baltics and eastern European nations to reassure allies unnerved by Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and to deter further aggression.