Merkel: Russia meddling with countries’ EU aspirations

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is bitterly accusing Russia of trying to meddle with the desires of eastern European countries to pursue a path of integration with the European Union.

Merkel told Germany’s Die Welt newspaper that Russia has created difficulties for Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine after they made ‘sovereign decisions’ to sign association agreements with the EU.

The German leader said Russia was destabilizing these countries by violating their territorial integrity.

“The republic of Moldova suffers from the conflict in the [breakaway region of] Transdniestria…. Georgia, too, has been enduring frozen conflicts for years in [its breakaway regions of] South Ossetia and Abkhazia, while Ukraine has had to witness the annexation of Crimea and fighting in the country’s east,” said Merkel.

The West has for years accused Russia of fueling “frozen conflicts” in countries in its traditional sphere of influence that are pursuing policies contrary to Moscow’s interests.

Merkel added that Russia has also broken a 1994 pact guaranteeing Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The violation of the Budapest Memorandum “cannot remain without consequences,” she said.

Situation in Ukraine

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has ordered his forces to observe what he calls a “day of silence” Tuesday, to give soldiers and pro-Russian separatists a chance to put together a new cease-fire.

Rebel commanders also have agreed to the December 9 truce.

The current cease-fire signed in September in Minsk was broken almost immediately after it was signed and has been consistently violated since.

NATO and Ukraine have accused Russia of sending troops and weapons into eastern Ukraine to help separatist fighters hang on to territory they seized earlier this year. The Kremlin denies the charge.


(Photo: EC Audiovisual Service)