EU ministers debate ways to shield Ukraine from Russia

European Union foreign ministers are discussing how to thwart the threat of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine and what measures to take should Moscow decide to send its troops across the border

Via AP news wire
Monday 13 December 2021 10:17
Belgium EU Foreign Ministers
Belgium EU Foreign Ministers

European Union foreign ministers met Monday to discuss how to thwart the threat of a possible new Russian invasion of Ukraine and what measures to take should Moscow decide to send its troops across the border.

U.S. intelligence officials say Russia has moved 70,000 troops toward Ukraine’s border and is preparing for a possible invasion early next year. Moscow denies it has any plans to attack Ukraine and rejects Western concerns as part of a smear campaign.

“We are on deter mode,” to dissuade Russia, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

Borrell, who is chairing Monday's meeting, said that no decisions about sanctions against Russia would be taken but that the ministers would discuss what steps to take and when, in coordination with the United States and Britain.

“In any case, we will send a clear signal that any aggression against Ukraine will have a high cost for Russia” and underline the 27-country bloc’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Borrell told reporters in Brussels

Lithuania warned that Russia’s troop movements of late were no mere menace.

“We are convinced that Russia is actually preparing for the all-out war against Ukraine,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said.

If carried out, it would be “an unprecedented attack on a country that shows a Western direction. That means that the answer has to be unprecedented from the Western countries as well,” Landsbergis said.

But the EU’s big powers, France and Germany, and other members of the 27-nation further from Russia’s borders, do not share the same assessment as the U.S., Poland and the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They acknowledge Russia’s troop movements but do not consider an attack imminent.

In 2015, France and Germany brokered a peace agreement that helped end large-scale hostilities in Ukraine’s east, where Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russia-backed separatists since 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

Efforts to reach a political settlement to the separatist conflict, which has killed more than 14,000 people in seven years, have failed. Sporadic skirmishes continue along the tense line of contact. Russia so far refuses to meet France and Germany for more “Normandy format” peace talks.

The EU foreign ministers' meeting is a prelude to a busy week of diplomacy in Brussels focused on Ukraine. The leaders of EU nations meet Wednesday with their counterparts from Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova. An EU summit on Thursday is expected to also focus on what actions might be necessary.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in