Region

Russia and Eastern Europe

Stories under this heading cover Russia, as well as countries in the eastern part of the European continent, such as Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova.

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Widespread condemnation after government websites in Ukraine are shut down by 'massive' cyber hack

Widespread condemnation after government websites in Ukraine are shut down by 'massive' cyber hack

NATO and the European Union led strong condemnation after Government websites of various Ukrainian ministries were hacked on Thursday evening (13 January). The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported this on Friday. According to Ukraine's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko, it is too soon to draw conclusions about who could have been behind the attacks. However it is widely suspected that Russia was behind the attacks.
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NATO-Russia Council meets for a "not an easy discussion"

NATO-Russia Council meets for a "not an easy discussion"

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussles, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who chaired the meeting, said: “This was not an easy discussion, but that is exactly why it was so important.” He noted that NATO Allies are ready to meet again with Russia to discuss a number of topics in greater detail and to put concrete proposals on the table. “There are opportunities for constructive engagement which should not be missed, in the interest of security in Europe,” he said.

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News
EU leaders look at relations with the countries to the East

EU leaders look at relations with the countries to the East

EU leaders on Thursday (24 June) EU's relations with Russia and Turkey, two important and strategic countries with whom the European Union has a complex relationship. The tone adopted in dealing with the two countries was very different, as is appropriate given that Turkey remains an EU candidate country, whilst Russia is increasingly seen as a disruptive neighbour and rival.
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Georgian Church irritates Kiev by hosting pro Moscow faction of Ukrainian Church

Georgian Church irritates Kiev by hosting pro Moscow faction of Ukrainian Church

In a move that is likely to cause considerable irritation in Kiev, the Georgian Orthodox Church on Monday (7 June) hosted a delegation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that is loyal to the Moscow Patriarchate. Ilia II, the Georgian Orthodox Church Patriarch, and his locum tenens, Metropolitan Shio met the delegation led by Bishop Antony on Monday (7 June).
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Kazakhstan rebuffs talk of joint EAEU response to Western sanctions

Kazakhstan rebuffs talk of joint EAEU response to Western sanctions

The government of Kazakhstan, in a statement issued on Saturday (5 June) rebuffed the idea of such a joint response raised last week by Russian deputy foreign minister Alexander Pankin who said that the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which brings together Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, was working on a “consolidated response” to Western sanctions against some of its members.
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EU bans Belarusian carriers from its airspace and airports

EU bans Belarusian carriers from its airspace and airports

In an announcement on Friday (5 June), the Council of the European Union, which represents the 27 member states, said that it has decided to strengthen the existing restrictive measures in view of the situation in Belarus by introducing a ban on the overflight of EU airspace and on access to EU airports by Belarusian carriers of all kinds.
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News
Kremlin provides insights on Putin-Lukashenko meeting

Kremlin provides insights on Putin-Lukashenko meeting

The Kremlin has provided some insights on the meeting between Russian president Vladimir Putin and his Belarussian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, held in Sochi on Friday and Saturday  (28 - 29  May), saying that they focused on trade, economic relations and the fight against the pandemic. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Saturday that the incident with the Ryanair flight was also discussed.
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Commentary
Commentary: A shaken EU fires opening shots in long war of attrition with Belarus

Commentary: A shaken EU fires opening shots in long war of attrition with Belarus

The united European response to the brazen Belarusian snatching of an opposition figure from a commercial airplane of a European airline flying between two European capitals was swift and strong. Nothing dramatic will happen overnight as a result, but make no mistake about it, this was the opening shot of what is likely to be a long and messy war of attrition against Belarus that may last for years. On Belarus now, the EU's mind is set. The process will start and will be sustained.
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Editorial
Editorial: On Belarus, the EU must now act quickly and decisively

Editorial: On Belarus, the EU must now act quickly and decisively

The forced diversion by Belarus of a flight between two EU member states on Sunday (23 May) constitutes an act of international piracy at the heart of Europe. Under President Lukashenko, Belarus is now a pirate state, and must be treated like one. This will undoubtedly cause some pain to the Belarusian people who are not to blame for the recklessness of their leader, but this is now inevitable.