Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on March 14, 2016, reported that EU foreign ministers have unanimously agreed on “five guiding principles” of the bloc’s policy toward Russia. Excerpts below:

First, Russia must fully respect and implement the Minsk cease-fire agreement signed in February 2015, while Brussels will not recognize Moscow’s “illegal” annexation of Crimea in March 2014…

Other principles include strengthening EU relations “with our Eastern partners and other neighbors, in particular in Central Asia,” and EU resilience in areas such as energy.

Mogherini said ministers also recognized the need for “selective engagement with Russia on foreign policy issues” such as the Syria conflict and counterterrorism.

The fifth principle is the “willingness to support more and more the Russian civil society,” she added.

Comment: The fifth principle is important. It seems as if Obama has more or less decided that Ukraine is in the Russian sphere of interest. With a new president in the United States being elected in November there could hopefully be a new concerted effort by the West to increase the support for civil society in Russia and to change Moscow’s present challenge to Western culture.

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