EU warns Russia to stop pressuring nations that seek closer ties with EU

BRUSSELS – European Union trade ministers are warning Russia to stop pressuring neighbourhood countries that seek closer ties with the EU.

The 28 nations hope to sign or initial closer co-operation agreements with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia at a special summit next month, but Moscow has urged them to instead align themselves closer to Russia.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius chaired the meeting and said that “pressure exerted by Russia against eastern partnership partners is unacceptable.”

Russia has told Ukraine a price cut in gas would only be possible if Ukraine doesn’t sign up to an EU association agreement at a Nov. 28-29 summit. Last month, Russia banned Moldovan wine, arguing it did not meet quality standards.

The ministers also criticized Moscow for banning Lithuanian dairy products.