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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No Breakthrough Likely at EU-Russia Summit

STOCKHOLM — Leaders of the European Union and Russia were holding a summit Wednesday on energy security, climate change, trade and human rights, with both sides hoping that the talks would help patch up battered relations.

The summit in the Swedish capital was expected to produce a number of agreements, including on border control, but no significant breakthroughs. EU leaders were also expected to press President Dmitry Medvedev for more assurances on energy supplies and for a bigger commitment to climate change.

"EU-Russia relations aren't the greatest right now, and so the expectations [for the summit] are probably not set too high," said Carolina Vendil-Pallin, an expert on Russia at the Swedish Defense Research Agency in Stockholm.

Relations between the two hit a low with Russia's August 2008 war after Georgia and Moscow's decision in January to halt natural gas deliveries because of a payment dispute with Ukraine, leaving millions of EU citizens in the cold.

The summit six months ago in Moscow ended without tangible success, but this time the two sides appear determined to mend fences. They agreed Monday to establish an early warning system for possible disruptions in energy supplies.

Despite this, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned last week that Russia would again close the valves on gas pipelines flowing west if Ukraine fails to pay for its shipments or begins siphoning illegally — a warning that raised the hackles of some EU leaders.

Russia is the EU's largest energy supplier, providing 20 percent of the bloc's natural gas through the Ukrainian pipeline.

Putin suggested the 27-nation union help finance secure gas deliveries by lending $1 billion to Ukraine, an idea European leaders have dismissed.

Russia's EU representative Vladimir Chizhov reiterated the proposal Friday.

"We are calling on the European Union to participate actively in a number of preventive measures, including financial assistance, in order to guarantee the uninterrupted transit of energy supplies through Ukrainian territory," he said.

Russian and EU leaders are also expected to discuss climate change, trade and human rights.

The European Union is hoping to persuade Russia to make a stronger commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen approaches in December.

Russia has said it is willing to cut emissions by 10 percent to 15 percent from 1990 levels; the European Union would like to see deeper reductions.