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Mar 11, 2014

EU to offer Ukraine trade benefits to help prop economy

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission agreed on Tuesday to give nearly 500 million euros ($685 million) worth of trade benefits to Ukraine, which had been teetering towards default even before pro-Western unrest in Kiev revived Cold War tensions.

The Commission plans to remove duties on a wide range of agricultural goods, textiles and other imports in an effort to support the Ukrainian economy, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy supplies and running critically short of foreign currency to meet debts or finance imports.

Mar 11, 2014

EU to offer 500 million euros of trade benefits to Ukraine

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission agreed on Tuesday to extend nearly 500 million euros worth of trade benefits to Ukraine, removing duties on a wide range of agricultural goods, textiles and other imports in an effort to support the Ukrainian economy.

European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said the benefits would be in force until at least November 1 this year, by which time the European Union expects to have signed a full free-trade agreement with a new government in Ukraine.

Mar 10, 2014

EU diplomats preparing next level of sanctions on Russia

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union is preparing to impose travel bans, asset freezes and other restrictions on Russia for its failure to “de-escalate” the crisis in Crimea, officials said on Monday.

While the formal decision to impose the sanctions is only expected to be taken when EU foreign ministers next meet on March 17, preparations on the measures have already started.

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.

    • 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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