Wary EU Hosts Hopeful Ex-Soviets, Under Russian Glare

European Union leaders began a tense summit in Latvia on Thursday with ex-Soviet neighbors that was overshadowed by the continuing confrontation with Russia triggered by the last such event 18 months ago. Disagreement over the conflict in Ukraine, and over the EU's reluctance to hold out membership prospects to the six states in its "Eastern Partnership", has marked the preparations. But as he arrived for the opening dinner in Riga, summit chairman Donald Tusk insisted the bloc was still determined to support its poorer neighbors in the face of Russian anger, he said, "The European Union stays the course despite the intimidation, the aggression, even the war, of the last year."