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Wagner mutiny is 'internal Russian affair', say EU leaders

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Thursday, June 29, 2023.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Thursday, June 29, 2023. Copyright Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Stefan Grobe
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Leaders from the 27 EU member states have come together in Brussels for a two-day summit with a busy agenda on the table.

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The heads of state will focus primarily on the consequences of last weekend's failed uprising in Russia.

The European Union considers the action led by the Wagner Group to be an internal Russian affair.

"It also threatens the stability of Russia, as we have seen. We have observed that, and we have discussed the results with each other," German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told reporters when he arrived at the summit.

"But it was always clear that we can only observe this, what happens in Russia has nothing to do with other countries."

The leaders pledged to continue supporting Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invading army, which could include pledging further military aid.

Last week, the EU already decided to increase the so-called European Peace Facility by €3.5 billion.

However, as this may not be enough in the long run, the European Commission is looking at how frozen Russian assets could be used to finance Ukraine.

"This (the mutiny) has shown deep cracks in Putin's system. This mutiny that we have seen will also have aftershocks that we will see," said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. 

"So it's all the more important that we double the support to Ukraine, whether it's military capabilities, whether it's financial support. Very important to be consistent here. "

Another important topic at the summit is migration. Following the shipwreck on the Greek coast that killed hundreds of people, a group of EU countries is pushing for a discussion of a new approach in which only those eligible for asylum could enter the EU.

This would mean that asylum applications would be processed virtually outside Europe.

"We can no longer allow people to travel through Europe and other countries without authorization and live in circumstances that are unacceptable", said Swedish prime minister Ulf Kristersson. "This is one of the consensus views in Europe that we simply have to do something about it."

Economic issues and relations with China are to be on the summit agenda on Friday.

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