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Brussels meddles AGAIN: EU risks Putin's wrath as it lines up visa-free access for Georgia

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MEPs said that Georgia's 4.4million residents should be allowed access to the 28-nation bloc and moved towards granting another ex-Soviet republic, Ukraine, the same right. 
The dual move is bound to infuriate Russia's strongman leader, who sees both former Soviet countries as firmly within his sphere of influence. 
Critics have blamed Brussels open overtures towards Kiev, which resulted in the removal of the country's pro-Moscow government in 2014, for sparking the current war in Ukraine. EU states held off an expected decision to ease travel rules for Georgia in June as Germany and other countries voiced reservations, saying any new visa waivers should be delayed until the bloc agreed easier rules to suspend visa-free travel.
Ahead of an expected vote by the committee later this month, Mariya Gabriel, a Bulgarian lawmaker with the parliament's largest faction, the European People's Party, told Monday's session that travel rules should also be relaxed for Ukraine.
And Portugese MEP Ana Gomes, of the Socialists, said: "Politically and strategically it is very important that we deliver visa-liberalisation for Ukraine."Like Georgia, Ukraine sees visa-free travel to the EU as part of a geopolitical struggle with Russia over the ex-Soviet states' Western aspirations, which Moscow opposes.
The issue of fostering closer ties with the EU was at the heart of mass street protests in Kiev that toppled a Moscow-allied president there in early 2014.
The EU, as well as the United States, slapped sanctions on Russia over the turmoil in Ukraine. While a growing number of EU states now speak of the need to re-engage with Russia, the lawmakers on Monday stressed that Brussels stood by Ukraine.Georgia was at the heart of international tensions in 2008 when a five-day war between Tbilisi and Moscow in August led to the previous sharp decline in ties between Russia and the West.
The south Caucasus country of 4.5 million people is due to hold parliamentary elections in October.
Elsewhere in a sign that the European Parliament wanted another hopeful, Kosovo, to do more before it is given visa-free travel, the lawmakers endorsed a corresponding proposal, but did not give their negotiators mandate to open the trilogue talks.
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