Category Archives: Europe
Russian Foreign Ministry had summoned Greece’s ambassador to Moscow and informed him it was responding in kind to what it called an unfriendly decision by Athens to expel two Russian diplomats.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it had summoned Greek Ambassador Andreas Friganas and handed him a diplomatic note informing him of “tit-for-tat measures taken by the Russian side.”
Previously Greece officials said they had expelled two Russian diplomats in July and barred two other people from entering the country for trying to bribe officials and foment demonstrations to thwart a deal to allow Macedonia to join NATO.
The Council added six entities to the list of those subject to restrictive measures over actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. They are listed because of their involvement in the construction of the Kerch Bridge, connecting Russia to the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula. Through their actions they supported the consolidation of Russia’s control over the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula, which in turn further undermines the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
The measures consist of an asset freeze, meaning that all of the assets in the EU belonging to these entities are frozen and EU persons and entities cannot make any funds available to them.
The decision brings the total number of entities listed by the EU to 44. In addition, the EU imposed a travel ban and an asset freeze on 155 individuals under this sanctions regime.
The legal acts, including the names of the persons concerned, are available in the EU Official Journal of 31 July 2018. They were adopted by the Council by written procedure.
Other EU measures in place in response to the Ukraine crisis include: economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy, currently in place until 31 January 2019; restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, currently in place until 23 June 2019.
“We consider deplorable the EU Council decision of 30 July 2018 on expanding EU illegitimate unilateral restrictions to a range of Russian companies involved in the construction of the Kerch Bridge” – says the comment of Russian Foreign Ministry (MFA).
“Obviously the free choice made by Crimeans to reunite with Russia is haunting the European Union. Is there any alternative explanation of the fact that since 2016 the EU sanctions list has been widening by adding almost exclusively Russian citizens and organisations that are in one way or another involved in successful democratic development of Crimea and Sevastopol within the Russian Federation?”- the statement continues.
“…We hope that the European Union will at last consider the financial and image costs of indulging anti-Russian whims of Kiev authorities. Interests of many companies from the EU Member States operating in Russia, including in the construction business, may suffer from another sanctions round. We assume that common interests of Russia and EU countries would be best served by pragmatic and mutually beneficial work based on sober recognition of existing realities” – Russian MFA statement concludes.
In a declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the alignment of certain countries concerning restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, Federica Mogherini welcomed the decision of Montenegro, Albania, Norway, Ukraine and Georgia.
The Council extends the existing restrictive measures until 23 June 2019.
The Candidate Countries Montenegro and Albania, and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and Georgia, align themselves with this declaration.
They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.
The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.
Recently at Helsinki Summit President Vladimir Putin reiterated that Crimea joined Russia as a result of a democratic referendum.
“People in Crimea went to a referendum and voted for joining Russia. If this is annexation, what is democracy then?” Putin raised a rhetorical question. “We are aware of president Trump’s posture, that… Crimea is part of Ukraine,” Putin said. “He told me this today. I responded with the words pretty much similar to what I’ve said to you, and I think we should leave the discussion at that.”
Citizens of Crimean Republic votes to join Russian Federation in the aftermath of dramatic events of Euromaidan Revolution (2014) culminating in a violent overthrow of democratically elected President, and legitimate government.
Initially Crimea joined Russia as Tavrichesky region by ‘ukaz’ (1784) singed by Catherine the Great ending a protracted military campaign against Crimean Caliphate slave-trade, and systemic abduction of her subjects (mainly women and children) for sales at biggest market between Europe and Asia. According to different historical sources from two to three million people passed through Caliphate slave market by date.
Mid-July Crimean officials reported maximum of 31 thousand cars passing Crimean bridge à day, and one million vehicles crossed the bridge since opening in May.
President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin arrived to Helsinki for his bilateral meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. Although there is no official agenda, two leaders are expected to cover not only bilateral relations, but a broader range of international issues: conflict in Syria, Donbass, nuclear deal with Iran (JCPOA), and North Korean non-proliferation in first ranks. Ahead of the talks between two delegations, Trump-Putin will have a tete-à-tete meeting, where only two interpretors would be present. The press-conference is announced by the end of the Summit.
The expectations of the international community are high, especially for those who live in regions of conflict, wating the superpowers to start a dialogue to release tensions to benefit of all. The relations between Russia and the U.S. are at lowest since the times of Cold War.
The meeting of two leaders in the Finnish Presidentaial palace is expected to start around 13:00 (local time).
Greece decided to eject Russian diplomats under the pressure from the European Union and the US in order to favor its partners ahead of the NATO summit, said Igor Pshenichnikov, expert for the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, TASS agency reports.
“It is clear that Greece’s authorities made the decision to expel Russian diplomatic staff members under the pressure of their advisers from Brussels and Washington. This is a gift that Alexis Tsipras made for the NATO summit,” he said, answering the question on why it was done now, as the country had not expelled Russian diplomats following the Skripal poisoning case. “Any excuse can be found, and it is not worth talking about. May it weigh on the conscience of Greece’s current authorities.”
“Of course, it is being done for a reason. Bad relations with Russia are a condition for Tsipras’ good relations with Washington and Brussels. This is obvious,” the expert said.
The Western countries do not quite like benevolent relations between Athens and Moscow both at the official level and between ordinary citizens, Pshenichnikov continued. “All of this definitely irritates both Brussels and Washington. We know that the Americans are constantly instructing the Greeks, so to say, to scale back Russian-Greek cooperation both at the official level and at the level of public diplomacy and creating obstacles all the time,” the expert concluded.
In line with the Alliance Open Door Policy under Article 10 of the Washington Treaty NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the invitation to Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to start accession negotiations. However Stoltenberg made it clear that the talks can start only when the name issue is settled, “you can’t have it both”, he underlined. The Alliance is ready to start negotiations with Republic of “North Macedonia” (“Severna Macedonia”) as soon as the legal procedure of renaming is concluded.
Stoltenberg added that NATO is fully committed to integration of the countries, aspiring to join the Alliance, judging each on its merits. “NATO door is open to all European democracies, which share the values of Alliance, and which are willing and able to assume the responsibilities and obligations of membership” the Secretary General confirmed.