MOSCOW, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that the situation in Ukraine may have negative impact on the markets of the Moscow-led Customs Union (CU).
"Ukraine is a key partner of the CU and a member of the free trade area of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Extraordinary situation in Ukraine causes serious concerns," Putin told a meeting of the Eurasian Supreme Economic Council.
Putin warned that "extremely difficult crisis" experienced by the Ukrainian economy required the CIS countries to undertake measures to protect their producers and exporters.
Besides, he said, new modes of further cooperation with Ukraine must be worked out.
"We need to do our best to help our partners to depart from the complicated situation they have been in currently," Putin said.
The Eurasian Supreme Economic Council comprises heads of states and governments of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, which are the founding members of the CU and Common Economic Space. In May, they plan to sign a treaty on the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union. Armenia is looking forward to joining the alliance in 2015.
The political crisis has cost Ukraine economically, as the country is facing a possible debt default. Ukraine needs some 35 billion dollars in aid to improve its economy, according to the country's Finance Ministry.
Britain to try "every diplomatic opportunity" for Ukraine crisis: Hague
LONDON, March. 5 (Xinhua) -- British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Wednesday vowed to try "every diplomatic opportunity" to de-escalate crisis in Ukraine.
"We are trying to use every diplomatic opportunity to bring Russia and Ukraine into direct contact with each other at a senior level to make sure that the governments of Russia and Ukraine are talking to each other," Hague said at a press conference. Full story
NATO suspends joint mission with Russia
BRUSSELS, March 5 (Xinhua) -- NATO announced on Wednesday to suspend the planning for first NATO-Russia joint escort-vessel-mission to neutralise Syria's chemical weapons.
The maritime escort for the U.S. ship Cape Ray, which will neutralise Syria's chemical weapons. "But Russia will not be involved in the escort of the U.S. vessel," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a press conference following the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council. Full story
U.S. to expand military ties with Poland, Baltic states amid Ukraine crisis
WASHINGTON, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said here Wednesday that the U.S. plans to expand military cooperation with Poland and Baltic states to show " support" for its allies amid crisis in Ukraine.
"This morning the Defense Department is pursuing measures to support our allies," including expanded aviation training in Poland and increasing the U.S. role in NATO's air policing mission over Baltic countries, Hagel told lawmakers. Full story
Putin calls Ukraine events coup, defends Russian position
MOSCOW/KIEV, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called events in Ukraine a coup and argued that the use of force was Russia's last resort to solving the ongoing crisis.
Speaking at a televised press conference, Putin said that by the time of signing the agreement on Feb. 21, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych had in effect given up his power. Full story