In what could be seen as a bid to ease tensions between Russia and the west, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia sees no need to use military force in the Crimea region of Ukraine... for now. Putin stressed that the use force would be 'a choice of last resort'.
But the Russian president warned western powers that imposing sanctions against Russia would be 'counter-productive', after the US and the EU threatened Moscow on Monday with sanctions if Russian troops do not withdraw from the region.
As the situation in Ukraine evolves toward civil war, Commission President José Manuel Barroso proposed on Thursday to send the EU’s top diplomats to Kyiv to help dialogue and calm down the situation. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich reportedly accepted the mediation and assured Barroso that he didn’t foresee to install a state of emergency in Ukraine.
After the Ukrainian Parliament abolished the 'anti-protest' laws on Tuesday, the European Commission urged the Ukrainian authorities to also grant amnesty to convicted protesters. 'Ukraine should adopt an amnesty law', European Commission spokesperson Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen said on Tuesday in Brussels.
The European Parliament called for a binding international resolution on how to deter the use of chemical weapons in Syria yesterday (12 September), as the US and Russian foreign ministers are due to hold a second round of talks on the crisis in Geneva.
Ukraine has asked the EU to dispatch an EU-led Security and Defence (CSDP) mission to Donbas, which, according to Kyiv, should be the biggest ever, Kostiantyn Yelisieiev, Ukraine's Ambassador to the EU told EurActiv in an exclusive interview.
On December 1, 2014 Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would abandon construction of an ambitious $40 billion project - the South Stream gas pipeline. Hedvika Koďousková and Martin Jirušek comment on the wider context of this decision.
Speaking at a press conference in Brussels after the EU-Russia summit on Tuesday, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy 'strongly' condemned recent violent episodes in Ukraine and 'call for restrain'.
'We want fundamental freedoms, such as the freedom of expression and assembly, preserved', Herman Van Rompuy added.
Speaking at a press conference after the Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Monday in Brussels, the EU's High Representative Catherine Ashton said that 'a constitutional reform is a key part on trying to solve this crisis' in Ukraine. 'I have listened their issues and concerns, the importance to stopping any form of violence bringing to justice who has perpetrated that violence', Ashton added.
Speaking at a press conference in Brussels after the EU-Russia summit on Tuesday, Russia's president Vladimir Putin said that Russia will not review current agreements on loans and gas price cuts with Ukraine, even “if the opposition will take power”.
The Kremlin has privileged politico-military-territorial objectives in Ukraine, while ignoring the economic consequences, and this begins to look like a strategic miscalculation, or Tolstoy’s “ill-directed will of one individual, and usurpation of power”, writes Michael Emerson.
EXCLUSIVE / In a candid interview with EurActiv, the former President of the European Council said the EU takes the boldest decisions only in crisis situations, "when we have our backs against the wall and are staring at the abyss with a knife against our throats".