BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s response to a peace plan for Ukraine will decide whether the United States and Europe step up sanctions, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.
The United States was delighted that Putin had asked the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament to retract a law enabling him to intervene militarily in Ukraine, Kerry said, “but it could be reversed in 10 minutes.”
BRUSSELS/SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Western powers warned Russia on Wednesday that they could impose new sanctions if it did not do more to defuse the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where a ceasefire between Russian-speaking rebels and government forces appeared to be crumbling.
The upper house of Russia’s parliament fulfilled a request by President Vladimir Putin to rescind the right to invade Ukraine in defense of its Russian speakers that it had granted him in March.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO will stop short of approving a formal step to membership for Georgia at its summit in September, officials said on Wednesday, dodging a possible confrontation with Moscow over the alliance’s expansion to Russia’s neighbours.
NATO members agreed in principle to draw up a “substantive package” of cooperation with Georgia that would help it move closer to NATO, Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters at a meeting of alliance foreign ministers.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The head of NATO said on Wednesday he saw no sign that Russia was respecting its international commitments over Ukraine as Britain warned Moscow it could face tougher European Union sanctions unless it acted to stop fighting in eastern Ukraine.
NATO has already suspended all practical cooperation with Russia over Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region though it has kept open high-level political contacts.
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – The European Union urged Russia on Monday to back President Petro Poroshenko’s peace plan for Ukraine but its threat of tougher sanctions if Moscow failed to do so appeared to only have partial support.
EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg held out the 15-point plan put forward by the new Ukrainian president as an opportunity to defuse the crisis that has led to hundreds of deaths and caused a confrontation between Russia and the West.
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague warned Russia on Monday that the EU was ready to impose tougher sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine if it is not satisfied with Moscow’s response to Kiev’s peace plan.
Speaking before a meeting in Luxembourg of European Union foreign ministers, Hague said leaders of the bloc’s 28 states would weigh Russian actions at a summit in Brussels on Friday.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO countries, wary of antagonizing Russia, are unlikely to grant former Soviet republic Georgia a formal step towards membership of the alliance at a summit in September, NATO diplomats say.
With NATO-Russia tensions running high after Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, the question of whether to invite Georgia to join the Membership Action Plan (MAP), putting the country closer to its goal of NATO membership, has spawned conflicting views in the alliance.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The hardline Islamist group that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq is probably training and directing foreign fighters to carry out attacks in Europe and elsewhere, the European Union’s counter-terrorism coordinator said on Thursday.
Gilles de Kerchove also said it was likely that there would be more attacks in Europe like the shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels last month that killed four people.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union will delay signing an agreement on closer economic and political ties with Thailand and demands a swift return to democracy following the country’s military coup, according to a draft document seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
Thailand’s army chief, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, seized power in May, vowing to restore order and push through reforms following six months of political turmoil.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Hard-won security gains in Somalia could be undermined unless the rest of the world steps up support to improve Somalis’ lives, the United Nations’ special representative for the country said on Wednesday.
In the struggle against al Shabaab militants in Somalia, the Somali army and African Union forces have seized control of 10 or 11 towns from the Islamists in the last few months, Nicholas Kay told Reuters in an interview during a visit to Brussels for talks with European Union officials.