New EU policy document calls Russia "strategic challenge"

11:21, 28 June 2016
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A new European Union policy document describes Russia as "a key strategic challenge," wording that constitutes a compromise between member states that are more hawkish toward Moscow and those resisting an escalation of rhetoric, RFE/RL reports.


The document, which is set to be endorsed at a June 28 summit of leaders, was produced by the bloc's diplomatic corps after EU heads of state last year tasked EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini with providing a strategic assessment to "guide the European Union's global actions in the future," according to RFE/RL.

Member states urging a harder line toward the Kremlin, such as Lithuania and Poland, had wanted the document to use the phrase "strategic problem" when describing Russia's role in European politics -- wording that European Council President Donald Tusk of Poland has previously used.

Other, mainly southern member states wanted something more similar to the phrase "strategic partner" that was used to describe Russia before its 2014 seizure and annexation of Ukraine's Crimea territory and the ensuing war between Kyiv's forces and Russia-backed separatists.

Read alsoPoroshenko expects positive messages on sanctions against Russia at EU summitThe 32-page document, seen by RFE/RL, says that the EU "will not recognize Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea nor accept the destabilization of eastern Ukraine.

The document does not mention the EU sanctions policy in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine, with the economic sanctions targeting Russia set to be prolonged soon for another six months.

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