Europe's East 07-06-2024

In Paris, Ukraine’s Zelenskyy draws parallel between D-Day and Kyiv’s fight

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Calling for greater unity of the international community, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday (7 June) drew a parallel between the Allied D-Day landings in Normandy and Russia's war in Ukraine.

NATO must look at containment strategy towards Russia, beyond ad hoc solutions, Czech FM Lipavský says

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Europe should have a containment strategy towards Russia, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský told Euractiv as his country prepares to host NATO foreign ministers on Thursday (30 May) to work on a new kind of support package for Ukraine.


G7 ministers cite ‘progress’ but no deal on Russian assets for Ukraine

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G7 finance ministers cited "progress" on Saturday (25 May) in finding ways to use profits from frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine, envisioning a concrete proposal to present to a leaders' summit next month.I’m

Europe's East 23-05-2024

Yellen urges ‘more ambitious’ G7 plans for Russian assets

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Stresa, Italy, May 23, 2024 (AFP) - US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday urged G7 ministers meeting in Italy to work on "more ambitious options" to use frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine.

The ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven world powers are meeting in Stresa, on the shores of northern Italy's Lake Maggiore, to prepare for a summit of G7 heads of state next month in Puglia.

Top of the agenda is a plan to finance crucial aid to Ukraine using the interest generated by the 300 billion euros ($325 billion) of Russian central bank assets frozen by the G7 and Europe.

The European Union took a first step in agreeing a deal this month to seize revenues from frozen Russian assets to arm Ukraine, a windfall that will reach 2.5 to three billion euros ($2.7-$3.3 billion) a year.

In a press conference before the meeting, Yellen welcomed this plan but added: "We must also continue our collective work on more ambitious options, considering all relevant risks and acting together."

She said she wanted "concrete options" to present to G7 leaders, adding: "Failure to take additional action is not an option -- not for Ukraine's future and not for the stability of our own economies and the security of our peoples."

The United States has proposed granting Ukraine, which has been fighting a Russian invasion for more than two years, up to $50 billion in loans secured by this interest.

The details of the US plan have not yet been finalised, including who would issue the debt -- the US alone or G7 countries as a whole.

But it will serve as a basis for G7 discussions, according to a Treasury source in Italy, which as G7 president this year is hosting the Stresa talks.

The US proposal is an "interesting way forward" but "any decision must have a solid legal basis", the source said.

Time is of the essence, as the slow speed of European material reaching Kyiv and the near-halt in US aid for months during wrangling in Washington have strained Ukraine's capabilities just as Russia has regained the initiative on the ground.

In addition to the United States and Italy, the G7 includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Japan.

- Legal issues -

Yellen had initially advocated a more radical solution -- the confiscation of the Russian assets themselves.

But European countries worried about creating a precedent in international law and the risk of serious legal disputes with Moscow.

Stresa host Giancarlo Giorgetti, Italy's economy minister, has made no secret of the complexity of the issue.

He said Rome would be an "honest mediator" in discussions but said the task was "very delicate".

In April, Moscow sent a thinly veiled warning to Italy in its capacity as G7 chair, taking "temporary" control of the Russian subsidiary of the Italian heating equipment group Ariston in retaliation for what it called "hostile actions" by Washington and its allies.

Experts warn that any further G7 action against Russia could lead to similar reprisals hitting other European companies still operating in the country.

John Kirton, director of the University of Toronto's G7 Research Group, said that tapping just the interest on Russian assets "would considerably reduce the legal problems".

"Legally, it would not be confiscating the 'assets'," he told AFP.

France on Wednesday welcomed the US plan, saying it was hoping the G7 finance ministers would reach a deal this week.

"The Americans have made proposals that fall within the framework of international law, and we are going to work on them openly and constructively," Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

- China overproduction -

Yellen said the Stresa meeting would consider "additional action" against Moscow for its war in Ukraine, including to restrict its access to critical goods that support its military.

She also said the G7 ministers would discuss responses to what she called China's "overcapacity" of key green technologies such as electric vehicles, batteries and solar panels.

The US is concerned that Chinese government support is leading to more production capacity than global markets can absorb, driving cheap exports and stifling growth elsewhere.

"Overcapacity threatens the viability of firms around the world, including in emerging markets," she said.

She added: "It's critical that we and the growing numbers of countries who have identified this as a concern present a clear and united front."

Russia’s push to change Baltic Sea border sparks concern in the region

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A Russian defence ministry proposal to revise Russia’s maritime border in the eastern Baltic Sea created concern among NATO’s Northern members on Wednesday (22 May).


France, Hungary, Slovakia to send representatives to Putin’s inauguration

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While most EU members, as well as the US, UK and Canada, are expected to boycott the fifth inauguration ceremony of President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday (7 May), France, Hungary and Slovakia are set to send representatives.

EU, NATO condemn cyberattacks against Germany, Czechia, blame Russia as perpetrator

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The EU and NATO on Friday (3 May) condemned "malicious cyber activities" against Germany and Czechia, which they say were likely carried out by a Russian cyber espionage group.

Disinformation 29-04-2024

Europe ministers say more resources needed to combat Russian disinformation online

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Ministers from France, Germany, and Poland revealed on Monday (29 April) that the Russian disinformation network "Portal Kombat" has continued growing, with new websites targeting 19 member states and the Western Balkans, and called for more resources to tackle online disinformation ahead of June's EU elections.

Elections 25-04-2024

‘Strategic failure’: France’s Raphaël Glucksmann takes aim at Macron’s geopolitics

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French socialists’ lead candidate Raphaël Glucksmann set out his vision for the future of the EU at a political rally in Strasbourg on Wednesday, hoping to pull the rug under Emmanuel Macron’s ‘Sorbonne II’ speech the next day and establish himself as the only credible left-wing force ahead of June’s EU elections.

EU Institutions 29-03-2024

European Parliament demands action over Russian interference allegations, worry about election fallout

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Political groups in the European Parliament on Friday (29 March) said they will demand swift action over Russian interference allegations and are planning to hold a debate on the issue, fearing the scandal’s effect on the upcoming June’s EU elections. 


Europeans keep away from Russia’s blame game over Moscow terror attack

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While European countries sent condolences and largely stayed away from commenting further on its implications, some fear the Russian terrorist attack could lead Putin to a more forceful response in Ukraine.

Global Europe 01-03-2024

Two years of war in Ukraine: The world without rules

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The truth behind all of Vladimir Putin’s current rhetoric is that if Ukraine falls, he will not stop there, writes Alexander Temerko. Alexander Temerko is a British-Ukrainian businessman who held senior posts in the Russian Defence Ministry in the Yeltsin era. The …

Economy 29-02-2024

Is Russia outperforming the EU or simply borrowing from its own future?

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Leo Tolstoy’s famous maxim about families could easily be adapted to express an important truth about contemporary geopolitics: the economies of the EU and Russia are both unhappy, but each in its own way. 

Europe's East 27-02-2024

France to hold parliamentary debate on Ukraine support amid backlash

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France’s government announced it will hold a parliamentary debate on the situation in Ukraine, with President Emmanuel Macron under heavy fire after he claimed on Monday (26 February) that no options - including sending troops on the ground - should be excluded in ensuring Ukraine’s victory against Russia.


Kremlin pushes to smother grieving for Navalny as election nears

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The Kremlin is working to suppress memorials for the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny in a bid to prevent his death from spoiling President Vladimir Putin’s expected re-election next month.

Global Europe 21-02-2024

EU targets Chinese firms, North Korea in new Ukraine war anniversary sanctions package

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EU member states on Wednesday (21 February) agreed to ban exports to three mainland Chinese firms and blacklist North Korea's defence minister in new sanctions for the second anniversary of Russia's war on Ukraine.


Saddened and outraged, exiled Russians mourn Navalny’s death across Europe

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Hundreds of exiled anti-war Russians rallied across European capitals, often in front of Russian embassies, to mourn the death of Vladimir Putin's most vocal critic, Alexei Navalny, and vent their anger at what they said was a murder of their pride and hope. 

Global Europe 16-02-2024

Editor’s take: Putin killed Navalny on second attempt

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If anyone had any hesitation about whether Russia was a ‘demokratura’ or a totalitarian regime, the answer today - following the death in prison of opposition leader Alexei Navalny - is clear.


Russia’s opposition in exile calls on EU not to recognise Putin’s election

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A month before Russia's presidential election, certain to be won again by Vladimir Putin, the country's anti-war opposition in exile admits that it is unable to influence the results but hopes the West will "do the right thing".

Zelenskyy goes to Paris, Berlin to sign bilateral security deals

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to meet his German and French counterparts on Friday (16 February) to sign bilateral security arrangements following up on their G7 July commitments, as Russia’s war against the country enters its third year.


Former top Macron aide held economic ties with Putin’s Russia, police found

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French police found that Alexandre Benalla, a former aide to Emmanuel Macron, was involved in businesses that struck private security deals with Russian oligarchs and personally benefitted from some of the proceeds – including when he still worked at the Elysée.


EU rejects claims it considers sanctions on Carlson over Putin interview

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The European Commission on Thursday (8 February) dismissed reports that it was considering sanctioning US right-wing commentator Tucker Carlson over his controversial interview with Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

US and EU have all the means to derail Russia’s Arctic LNG expansion plans

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Russia plans to nearly triple its LNG export capacity by 2030, with four new terminals in the Arctic due to bring more revenues for Moscow’s war on Ukraine. Yet, Ukraine’s allies have a strong leverage on Russian LNG exports, writes Andrii Zhupanyn.

Arctic Agenda 31-01-2024

West’s coming war with Russia will be triggered by Arctic climate breakdown

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NATO countries are priming their citizens to be ready for the next global conflict between the great powers. Once unthinkable, the idea of a third world war seems closer than ever, writes Maurizio Geri.