EU offers Ukraine more help but holds off on new Russia sanctions

By Gabriela Baczynska and Alissa de Carbonnel BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders offered Ukraine more aid at a summit on Thursday after Russia's seized its ships off Crimea but calls to punish Moscow with more sanctions went unheeded for now as Berlin and Paris try to secure the release of captured sailors. The bloc's 28 national leaders, however, decided to roll over the existing economic sanctions over Crimea's 2014 annexation by Moscow and Russia's subsequent backing for rebels in east Ukraine. There was no consensus to step up punitive measures as sought by more hawkish governments, though the bloc agreed it was 'ready to adopt measures, including to strengthen further its support' to Ukraine's southern regions.

Reuters December 14, 2018 02:06:12 IST
EU offers Ukraine more help but holds off on new Russia sanctions

EU offers Ukraine more help but holds off on new Russia sanctions

By Gabriela Baczynska and Alissa de Carbonnel

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders offered Ukraine more aid at a summit on Thursday after Russia's seized its ships off Crimea but calls to punish Moscow with more sanctions went unheeded for now as Berlin and Paris try to secure the release of captured sailors.

The bloc's 28 national leaders, however, decided to roll over the existing economic sanctions over Crimea's 2014 annexation by Moscow and Russia's subsequent backing for rebels in east Ukraine.

There was no consensus to step up punitive measures as sought by more hawkish governments, though the bloc agreed it was "ready to adopt measures, including to strengthen further its support" to Ukraine's southern regions.

In a sign of divisions on how to handle President Vladimir Putin's Russia, the text did not mention sanctions directly.

But the EU offered Ukraine help for its regions suffering from curtailed trade because of Moscow's actions in the Azov Sea.

"There is no justification for the use of military force by Russia," the bloc said.

The EU demanded the release of the 24 Ukrainian sailors, the return of their three vessels and free passage to all ships passing through the Kerch Strait, which controls access to the Azov Sea near Crimea.

Diplomats in Brussels said both Ukrainian and EU vessels were suffering extended waiting time to pass the narrow strait between the Russian mainland and the Moscow-annexed Crimea.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who met EU summit chairman Donald Tusk in Brussels on Wednesday, also received reassurances from NATO's head Jens Stoltenberg.

Stoltenberg said earlier on Thursday that the Western military alliance would supply Ukraine with secure communication equipment this month - part of a 40-million-euros ($46 million) pledge to bolster Kiev's armed forces.

"Ukraine invites allies to come up with comprehensive, tough measures to respond to Russia's actions," Poroshenko told reporters after meeting Stoltenberg.

DIVISIONS

European Parliament lawmakers overwhelmingly backed a non-binding report this week calling on EU governments to introduce targeted sanctions if Moscow fails to release the Ukrainian servicemen.

Among the 28 EU states, the three former Soviet republics in the Baltics, backed by Poland, Sweden and Britain, wanted a much tougher threat of more sanctions following the new flare-up of tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

But Germany and France, which put the accent on the need to ease tensions, said the time was not right as they were negotiating with Russia to release the Ukrainian sailors.

"On possible sanctions because of the incident in the Azov Sea, there is no consensus," a German government source said. "Many question if that is reasonable."

(Additional reporting by Andreas Rinke, Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel, Editing by Richard Balmforth)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

NYSE to delist three Chinese telecoms in dizzying about-face
Business

NYSE to delist three Chinese telecoms in dizzying about-face

By John McCrank and Anirban Sen (Reuters) -The New York Stock Exchange said on Wednesday it will delist three Chinese telecom companies, confirming its latest reversal on the matter a day after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told the NYSE chief he disagreed with an earlier decision to reverse the delistings

Oil and gas dealmaking peaks in Q4 as pandemic spurs consolidation - Enverus
Business

Oil and gas dealmaking peaks in Q4 as pandemic spurs consolidation - Enverus

(Reuters) - Deal making among oil and gas producers was at its highest for the year in the fourth quarter of 2020 as the pandemic-driven fallout in commodity prices spurred a wave of consolidation between explorers looking to scale up and drive down costs, a report from analytics firm Enverus said. Oil and gas producers made deals worth $27.1 billion in the quarter, up from $21 billion in the third, helped by three multi-billion dollar acquisitions in the prolific Permian basin of West Texas and New Mexico. ConocoPhillips acquired Concho Resources for $13.3 billion, the biggest pure shale acquisition by any company since 2011, topping the list.

Markets shift to price in chance of Democratic Senate wins
Business

Markets shift to price in chance of Democratic Senate wins

By Ritvik Carvalho, Wayne Cole and David Randall NEW YORK/LONDON/SYDNEY (Reuters) - The growing chances of Democratic wins in two pivotal U.S. Senate contests triggered financial market moves Wednesday that mirror hopes of more COVID-19-related stimulus and increased regulatory scrutiny of tech companies