European Unity on Russia: Ukrainian officials see Europe embracing a harder line on Russia - WSJ

14:38 Oct. 18, 2016

Ukrainian officials see Europe embracing a harder line on Russia - WSJ

Ukraine's national flag flies beside a Russian and a European Union flag in Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 26, 2014

"Russians are creating more problems to use them as leverage," Ukraine's Foreign Minister says

Ahead of talks on Ukraine and a summit of European leaders, Ukrainian officials said this week they believe there is increasing support in Europe for a harder line approach to Russia.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Pavlo Klimkin, the Ukrainian foreign minister said frustration with Russian actions in Syria has helped convince European leaders that Moscow has been following similar approaches in Ukraine and Syria.

"What the Russians have been doing, they treat insecurity as a commodity on a stock exchange, creating more insecurity here and more insecurity there," Mr Klimkin said. "They are not fixing any problems but creating more problems and ready to use these problems as leverage."

German officials announced Tuesday that they would host a summit of French, German, Russian and Ukrainian leaders—the so-called Normandy format— on Wednesday, the first such meeting in a year.

Following the Normandy meeting, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will travel to Brussels for a summit of EU leaders. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will join them.

While once, officials expected a discussion about easing Ukraine-related sanctions, the agenda is likely to focus on toughening the bloc's approach to Moscow, and possibly moving forward on Syria-related sanctions.

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