EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has rung the alarm over a potential escalation in tensions with Russia over Ukraine.
Europe is facing its most serious security threat since the Cold War, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has warned, while still voicing hope for a diplomatic resolution to the standoff with Russia over Ukraine.
Questioned over US warnings of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine, at a joint news conference in Washington on Monday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Borrell said they shared “a strong concern” about the situation on the ex-Soviet state’s borders.
“We are living, to my understanding, the most dangerous moment for security in Europe after the end of the Cold War,” Borrell told reporters.
“Nobody masses 140,000 soldiers heavily armed in the border of a country” without it representing “a strong threat,” he said.
US officials say Moscow has assembled 110,000 troops near the border with Ukraine and is on track to amass a large enough force, some 150,000 soldiers, for a full-scale invasion within weeks.
Blinken denied Washington’s stance was alarmist, saying: “This is not alarmism. This is simply the facts.”
‘Consequences for all of us’
Both the United States and European Union are threatening to retaliate with unprecedented economic sanctions should Russian President Vladimir Putin move ahead with an invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.
“We don’t believe that Mr. President Putin has made a decision, but he has put in place the capacity, should he so decide, to act very quickly against Ukraine, and in ways that would have terrible consequences for Ukraine, for Russia, but consequences also for all of us,” said Blinken.
“We believe that a diplomatic way out of the crisis is still possible,” summed up Borrell. “We hope for the best but we prepare for the worst.”
Russia’s armed forces started to amass close to the border with Ukraine and in occupied Crimea in November last year.
Russia, which annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backs pro-Russian rebels fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine, is demanding sweeping security guarantees including a promise that NATO never admit Ukraine.
The United States, which has approved the deployment of nearly 3,000 American troops to Eastern Europe, has dismissed such calls, saying it would be up to Ukraine and to NATO whether Kiev ever joins the alliance.
Source: TRT World