EU’s top diplomat warns Russia over UkraineReading Time: 2 minutes
EU High Representative Josep Borrell said the European Union will act decisively if Russia commits further acts of aggression against Ukraine, ahead of a two-day visit to the Eastern European country on Tuesday.
Tensions are high between Ukraine and Russia, which has amassed around 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s eastern border. Russian and US officials will meet on Sunday and Monday in Geneva, Switzerland where Moscow is expected to make a string of security demands to the US and NATO, which are expected to be rejected.
According to Borrell, the situation in Ukraine cannot be adequately discussed “without all the relevant actors around the table”. Borrell told Polish news agency PAP that “the EU cannot be a neutral spectator in these negotiations if Russia really wants to discuss Europe’s security architecture. We are building a Common Foreign and Security Policy and a Common Security and Defence Policy precisely for that purpose.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday met the ‘Bucharest Nine’ (B9) group of NATO members (Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia). After the meeting he tweeted that “the U.S. and B9 NATO Allies continue our close coordination on Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine’s borders.”
US President Joe Biden discussed the threat of a possible Russian attack on Ukraine with Central and Eastern European (CEE) NATO countries in December. Biden meanwhile pledged to bolster US military presence in CEE and to involve them in talks with Moscow.
However Bulgaria’s Defence Minister Stefan Yanev controversially opposed the deployment of NATO troops in the B9-member country late last month. “The current increase in Russia’s military capabilities and activities on NATO’s eastern flank are circumstances that must (be) monitored with special care. These processes impose the need for a unified approach by NATO, but without leading to unnecessary escalation of tensions,” Yanev wrote on Facebook.