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Venizelos calls for ‘clear, strong’ EU stance on Ukraine

Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, left, with his Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders, in Brussels on Monday.

On arriving in Brussels on Monday for a crisis summit with his EU peers, Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos emphasized the need for a “very clear and very strong European position” on the crisis in Ukraine.

“We must remain calm and productive if we are to overcome this situation,” said Venizelos, who, apart from foreign minister, was representing Greece in its role at the helm of the European Union’s rotating presidency.

Peace and stability in the region remained the top priority, Venizelos told reporters, adding that any EU decision on the crisis must not only be clear and strong but also “productive.” “The crisis in Ukraine has to be de-escalated,” he said, adding that a return to a Cold War era must be averted. “We cannot underestimate the role of Russia and of Euro-Russian relations, not just on the European continent, but on the global stage,” the minister said, noting that a solution could be found through dialogue.

Over the weekend, Venizelos visited Kiev and Mariupol, near Crimea, which is home to a large ethnic Greek community.

Meanwhile unconfirmed media reports on Monday referred to a sighting of Ukraine’s former navy flagship, the Hetman Sahaidachny frigate, off the coast of Souda Bay, northwestern Crete. The reports came two days after the frigate reportedly refused to follow orders from Kiev and defected to Russia after taking part in a NATO operation in the Gulf of Aden.

ekathimerini.com , Monday March 3, 2014 (18:30)  
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