EU-Russia relations: a key strategic challenge

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The FINANCIAL — The European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defence discussed Russia’s influence in Ukraine and the Southern Caucasus region at a meeting on 7 February.

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, was present at the meeting to talk about the situation in East Ukraine. The meeting was also attended by Natalie Sabanadze, Georgian’s ambassador to the EU, who discussed Moscow’s approach to neighbouring countries, according to EU Neighbours East Info.

Committee vice-chair Jaromír Štětina, a Czech Member of the European Parliament, commented on the situation in the Avdiivka area of the Donetsk province: “Those brave Ukrainians are not only defending their country, but all of us, because this is not a civil war. This is an attack on a sovereign state by another state.”

Ioan Mircea Pașcu, a Romanian MEP, referred to the current operation as “political probing”, explaining that “militarily, it does not make sense in the midst of winter”.

Committee members said they were convinced that Russia was testing the reactions of the new US administration. Many of them called on the EU to ensure that Russia implements the Minsk peace agreement and that sanctions against the country continue until then.

Georgian Ambassador Sabanadze commented on Russia’s approach towards neighbouring countries: “Russia’s attitude to the Southern Caucasus and the neighbourhood is rooted in a very specific understanding of the international system as an area of hostile international competition where its neighbourhood should fulfil the function of a buffer zone.” However, she stressed her country’s will to make its own strategic decisions: “Georgia wants to do so not against Russia, but for Georgia.”

See also  Time Shifting 

According to a Parliament study, Russia is ready to assert its role as a global centre of influence. The West, including the EU, is perceived as the major challenger to both Russia’s desire for power and its security.

 

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