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Mar 10, 2014

EU finds complications as it pressures Russia on Ukraine

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – In its effort to show Russia it means business over Ukraine, the European Union may have created extra problems for itself in committing to a quick political deal with Kiev while leaving closer economic ties for later.

Complicating matters, the EU is standing by a promise to consult Russia on the economic consequences of any agreement with Ukraine, while threatening to call off the forum where it would raise such issues with Moscow.

Mar 7, 2014

Crimea votes to join Russia, Obama orders sanctions

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Crimea’s parliament voted to join Russia on Thursday and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum in 10 days’ time in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian region that drew a sharp riposte from U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama ordered sanctions on those responsible for Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine, including bans on travel to the United States and freezing of their U.S. assets.

Mar 6, 2014

Crimea votes to join Russia, accelerating Ukraine crisis

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine/BRUSSELS, March 6 (Reuters) – Crimea’s
parliament voted to join Russia on Thursday and its
Moscow-backed government set a referendum on the decision in 10
days’ time in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the
Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula.

The sudden acceleration of moves to bring Crimea, which has
an ethnic Russian majority and has effectively been seized by
Russian forces, formally under Moscow’s rule came as European
Union leaders held an emergency summit groping for ways to
pressure Russia to back down and accept mediation.

Mar 6, 2014

Ukraine ready to use military to defend itself against Russia

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Ukraine is ready to use military force to defend itself if Russia further expands its presence on Ukrainian soil, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said on Thursday, emphasizing that Ukraine would not be made subordinate to its neighbor.

Speaking at a news conference after meeting European Union leaders in Brussels, Yatseniuk said Crimea was and would remain an integral part of Ukraine and dismissed a decision by Crimea’s parliament to join up with Russia.

Mar 6, 2014

EU weighs Russia sanctions as Ukraine diplomacy falters

BRUSSELS/MOSCOW (Reuters) – European Union leaders were set to warn but not sanction Russia on Thursday over its military intervention in Ukraine after Moscow rebuffed Western diplomatic efforts to persuade it to pull forces in Crimea back to their bases.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov refused to meet his new Ukrainian counterpart or to launch a “contact group” to seek a solution to the crisis at talks in Paris on Wednesday despite intensive cajoling by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The two men will meet again in Rome on Thursday.

Mar 5, 2014

EU offers Ukraine $15 billion, but help hinges on IMF deal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union offered a larger than expected package of aid to Ukraine on Wednesday, saying it was willing to provide $15 billion in loans and grants over the next several years to help get the shattered economy back on its feet.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the assistance, to be discussed by European Union leaders at a summit in Brussels on Thursday, would require widespread reforms by the new Ukrainian government and the signing of a deal between Ukraine and the International Monetary Fund.

Mar 5, 2014

Europe cautious on Russia sanctions ahead of summit

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European leaders are under pressure to match the United States in imposing sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. But splits in the European Union, with many countries either close to Russia or reliant on its energy, means EU-U.S. unity is unlikely.

The EU has given Russian President Vladimir Putin until Thursday to reverse course over Crimea or face sanctions, which could include visa and travel bans, the freezing of Russian assets abroad and other political and economic steps.

Mar 3, 2014

EU tells Russia to withdraw troops or face possible sanctions

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union foreign ministers held out the threat of sanctions against Russia on Monday if Moscow fails to withdraw its troops from Ukraine, while offering to mediate between the two, alongside other international bodies.

At talks on the Ukraine crisis in Brussels, they agreed no deadlines or details about any punitive measures that could be put in place against Russia, but leaders of the bloc’s 28 nations will hold an emergency summit on Thursday and could take further decisions.

Mar 3, 2014

EU to urge mediation with Russia over Ukraine

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union foreign ministers will push on Monday for high-level mediation to resolve the crisis over Russia’s invasion of Crimea, while threatening the possibility of sanctions if Russia does not back down.

In emergency talks convened after Russian President Vladimir Putin seized the Crimean peninsula and said he had the right to invade Ukraine, ministers will try to strike a balance between pressure on Moscow and finding a way to calm the situation.

Mar 3, 2014

EU pushes mediation rather than sanctions against Russia

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union is unlikely to match the United States in threatening sanctions against Russia when its foreign ministers meet to discuss Ukraine on Monday, instead pushing for mediation between Moscow and Kiev, officials say.

The emergency talks, convened as Russian President Vladimir Putin seized the Crimean peninsula and said he had the right to invade his neighbor, are expected to result in a strongly worded statement of condemnation, but no immediate punitive measures.

    • About Luke

      "Luke is bureau chief for Reuters in Brussels. The 25-strong, multimedia bureau covers all European Union issues, from trade, energy and agriculture to foreign policy, competition, regulation and economic affairs. The bureau is also responsible for coverage of NATO and Belgian politics, economics and company news. In his beat, Luke covers foreign affairs, with a focus on the Middle East and Iran, and writes about EU economic policy. He was previously based in London, where he was defence correspondent, and before that had postings in Jerusalem, Baghdad, Rome and Johannesburg."
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