EU and US ‘united’ over crisis in Ukraine


The leaders of the European Union and the United States have stressed they are united over the crisis in Ukraine. US President Barack Obama said Russia had been isolated as result of its actions in Crimea, but that diplomatic channels for Moscow remained open, the BBC informs.
“The world is safer and more just” when the EU and US stand together, he said.
Other issues Mr Obama discussed with EU leaders Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy included a trade partnership.
He said they had agreed to “step up efforts to boost growth” by working towards finalising details on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which would remove trade barriers between the EU and US.
They also reviewed negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme as well as efforts to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons.
But it was on Ukraine that the three men emphasised they “stand united”. Mr Van Rompuy called Russia’s actions in Crimea “a disgrace in the 21st century and we will not recognise it”.
Mr Obama said Russia’s leaders had “clearly miscalculated” if they thought they could “drive a wedge between the European Union and the United States”.
He praised the EU for the steps it had already taken – along with the US – to penalise Russia and warned Moscow that the “isolation will deepen” if it carries on with its current course. This is Mr Obama’s first official visit to the EU headquarters in Brussels. He began his trip to Belgium with a visit to a cemetery in Flanders, where US soldiers killed in World War One are buried.
Following his talks with EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy and EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Mr Obama will meet NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Barack Obama: Russia is a regional power showing weakness over Ukraine
President Barack Obama has described Russia as no more than a “regional power” whose actions in Ukraine are an expression of weakness rather than strength, as he restated the threat from the G7 western allies and Japan that they would inflict much broader sanctions if Vladimir Putin went beyond annexation of Crimea and moved troops into eastern Ukraine, theguardian.com informs.
Speaking at the end of a summit on nuclear security in The Hague, Obama said that the US was committed to the defence of its NATO allies but that for non-member states along Russia’s borders, Washington and the rest of the international community would use non-military pressure to counter Russian encroachment.
In his remarks in The Hague, Obama said that he did not think that the Russian leadership, which has massed troops on Ukraine’s eastern border, had made a decision yet over whether to invade that part of the country.
Russian flags raised at all Crimean military units
Russian flags have been raised at all military units in Crimea, less than a week after the Russian leader signed a decree finalizing the reunification of the former Ukrainian region, Russia’s military chief said Wednesday, according to ria.ru.
As Crimea’s reunification process began last week, all 193 military units in the predominantly Russian-ethnic region have replaced Ukrainian flags with Russian ones and applied to join the Russian armed forces.
Some 1,500 out of 18,000 Ukrainian troops who have opted to continue their service with the Ukrainian armed forces will leave the region after handing over their weapons for protection, Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces said.
OSCE begins monitoring mission
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OSCE, has begun a monitoring mission to Ukraine as tensions simmer following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The 100 observers will gather information on security and human rights in Ukraine. But Moscow is so far refusing access to Crimea, the Voice of America reports.
Scores of OSCE observers on Tuesday began officially fanning out across southern and eastern Ukraine after Russia reluctantly agreed.
Court suspends broadcasting of several Russian TV channels in Ukraine
Kyiv District Administrative Court has issued a ruling to suspend the broadcasting of some Russian TV channels in Ukraine for the time of the consideration of a lawsuit by the National Council for Television and Radio to the retransmitting company, National Security and Defense Council’s deputy secretary Viktoria Siumar said, according to kyivpost.com. Russian channels RTR, Rossiya 24, Channel One, and NTV will not be broadcasted.

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