Russia causes “serious deterioration” of European security – EU | European Union
The EU’s top diplomat accused Russia of creating “a serious deterioration of the security situation in Europe” while calling for dialogue to avoid conflict in Ukraine.
Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign policy, was responding to Vladimir Putin’s proposals for security guarantees for Russia that would effectively rewrite the post-Cold War order.
Russia last week presented a list of highly controversial security demands, including a ban on Ukraine entering NATO and a limit on deployments of troops and weapons on the eastern flank of the United States. alliance – effectively bringing NATO forces back to where they were in 1997, before an eastward expansion.
The Kremlin’s proposals have been handed over to the US and NATO, but the EU is part of the West’s coordinated response to Russia’s military build-up on the border with Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Borrell met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, where they “took note” of Russia’s proposals, according to an EU calling account. “They stressed that any further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and high costs,” the EU statement said.
A spokesperson for the US State Department used similar language to describe the exchange: “They stressed the need for coordinated action to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and reaffirmed that any further Russian military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences for the Federation. from Russia.
Russia has massed around 100,000 troops on his side of the border with Ukraine, while Putin has stepped up his rhetoric, raising fears that he is looking for a pretext for an invasion. Earlier this month, the Russian president said the war in eastern Ukraine – where Ukrainian government troops have been fighting Russian-backed rebels since 2014 – looked like genocide.
EU leaders refrained from detailing specific sanctions against Russia, but last week agreed that “any further military aggression against Ukraine will have massive consequences and a high cost in response.”
NATO called on Russia to withdraw its forces and said its relationship with Ukraine was a matter between Kiev and the 30 members of the transatlantic security alliance.
In his statement on Putin’s security proposals, Borrell said Europe’s security was under threat.
Listing the Kremlin’s recent foreign policy adventures, from Russia’s annexation of Crimea to its role in eastern Ukraine, to actions in the Georgian breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as well as in Transnistria and support for Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, Borrell said. Russia’s actions had “resulted in a serious deterioration of the security situation in Europe.”
“The EU believes that dialogue, negotiation and cooperation are the only means to overcome differences and to establish peace,” said Borrell, citing the need to respect international commitments, in particular through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The OSCE on Wednesday announced an agreement between Russia and Ukraine to restore a ceasefire.
“I was delighted that the participants expressed their firm determination to fully adhere to the measures aimed at strengthening the ceasefire agreement of 22 July 2020,” said Mikko Kinnunen, OSCE Special Envoy to Ukraine . “This is of the utmost importance to people living on both sides of the contact line. “
The OSCE has an observer mission in Donbass and reported five times as many daily ceasefire violations this month compared to December 2020. Ceasefire violations include explosions and gunfire. gunfire, which observers recorded despite movement restrictions and GPS jamming. signals on OSCE drones.
The deal was reached at a meeting of Ukrainian, Russian and OSCE officials – known as the Trilateral Contact Group – and representatives of the Kremlin-backed self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Numerous ceasefires have been concluded and failed since the conflict began in 2014. More than 14,000 people have been killed, while the region’s economy has been devastated.