Euro boxtops see no end to sanctions against Russia over Ukraine
Reuters, Oct 10 2016
Top Eurostan and NATO boxtops called on Monday for continued dialogue with Moscow while maintaining pressure on Russia. Euro Parliament Pres M Schulz told an event hosted by Passauer Neue Presse that Eurostani sanctions against Moscow were linked to the Minsk peace agreement and could only be lifted when its conditions had been met. Schulz condemned in harsh terms Russia’s actions in Ukraine, but he also said it was vital to maintain some kind of dialogue, given Russia’s geographic proximity and the hope of promoting democracy in the longer term. Schulz told the event:
I can’t just wish Russia away. We should not declare Russia to be a pariah. Instead, we should tell Moscow, ‘We condemn what you are doing wrong, but will keep the channel for dialogue open for when you’re ready.’
Some Euro Parliamentary critturs have called for the EU to impose fresh sanctions against Russia for its role in Syria. France and Pindostan have also called for an investigation into war crimes they say have been committed in eastern Aleppo. Russia blames the Obama administration for what it calls a sharp deterioration in Pindo-Russian ties. Euro Council Pres D Tusk told the event the situation in Europe was particularly dangerous for frontline eastern European states like his native Poland, Slovakia and the Baltic States. Asked whether Europe could relax existing sanctions or impose fresh sanctions against Moscow, Tusk told the same panel discussion that the only answer was to prolong the sanctions that were already in place. He said the situation with Russia had grown worse since the EU last extended its sanctions in June, concluding:
It’s obvious for me today, the only way is to prolong the sanctions against Russia. Otherwise it will be a clear capitulation.
NATO Sec-Gen J Stoltenberg told the event NATO was continuing its largest buildup in eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War, but did not want to unleash a new Cold War. He said:
We don’t want to increase our presence, but we’ll continue to send a signal that our troops can be reinforced if needed. It’s very important to avoid a new Cold War. We don’t want a new arms race.
Putin cancels France trip after Hollande war crimes comments
Angela Dewan, CNN, Oct 11 2016
Putin has canceled a planned visit to France next week, a Kremlin source told TASS on Tuesday. The Kremlin source did not explicitly say why Putin had pulled out of the trip. Earlier, Hollande had said he might snub Putin in Paris next week, and suggested Moscow should be taken to the International Criminal Court over “war crimes” in Aleppo. In an interview with TF1’s Quotidien program in France, Hollande said he was unsure if he would welcome Putin, who was due to visit for the opening of a Russian Orthodox church in Paris on Oct 19. He said:
I have asked myself that question. Is it useful? Is it necessary? Could we do something that pushes him as well and stop what they’re doing with the Syrian regime, that is to say the help they are providing to the Syrian regime, which sends bombs to the population of Aleppo? If I receive him, I would tell him that it is unacceptable, that it is bad even for the image of Russia. What I tell them, is that these populations are populations that are today victims of war crimes and those who commit those acts will have to pay for their responsibility in front of the International Criminal Court.