European Union international ministers met at a digital convention earlier this week, as they tried to reassess their choices whereas Russia continues to construct up its army presence on the Ukrainian border. The West has struggled to adequately counter current actions by Moscow, together with the remedy of jailed Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny. The EU‘s prime diplomat, Josep Borrell, mentioned forward of the assembly: “All in all, the relations with Russia should not bettering, however the opposite; the strain is rising on totally different fronts.
“We name on Russia to withdraw their troops.”
Mr Borrell mentioned Russia had constructed up a troop presence on the Ukraine border and in annexed Crimea.
He added: “It’s greater than 150,000 Russian troops massing on the Ukrainian borders and in Crimea. The danger of additional escalation is clear.”
The US Pentagon mentioned that the army buildup was larger than the one throughout 2014, and it was not clear whether or not it was for coaching functions.
Mr Borrell confirmed that in the intervening time, no sanctions or expulsions of Russian diplomats had been deliberate however he didn’t rule them out.
As fears of a serious battle in Ukraine mount, a letter written by former President of the European Fee, Jean-Claude Juncker, to Russian President Vladimir Putin has resurfaced.
In 2018, Mr Juncker got here beneath fireplace for congratulating the Russian President on his reelection as Britain blamed Moscow for a lethal toxin assault.
Mr Juncker wrote to Putin, pledging to “all the time be a accomplice” in bettering safety cooperation with the Kremlin.
He added within the letter, which he shared on Twitter: “I’ve all the time argued that constructive relations between the European Union and Russian Federation are essential to the safety of our continent.
“Our frequent goal ought to be to re-establish a cooperative pan-European safety order.
“I hope that you’ll use your fourth time period in workplace to pursue this purpose.
“I’ll all the time be a accomplice on this endeavour.”
Mr Juncker revealed the letter only a day after EU international ministers provided Britain “unqualified solidarity” in a dispute with Russia.
On the time, former Prime Minister Theresa Could introduced her Authorities believed Moscow was behind the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal within the English metropolis of Salisbury utilizing a Soviet-designed nerve agent.
The previous head of the Conservative Celebration group within the European Parliament mentioned that together with his letter Mr Juncker was successfully “appeasing a person who poses a transparent risk to western safety”.
Former MEP Ashley Fox wrote in an announcement: “This can be a disgraceful letter from Jean-Claude Juncker.
“His failure to say Russia’s duty for a army nerve agent assault on harmless individuals in my constituency is nauseating.”
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The then-European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator Man Verhofstadt additionally joined the criticism, saying on Twitter “that is no time for congratulations”.
The previous Belgian chief insisted that ties with Russia “have to be conditional on respect for the foundations based mostly worldwide order”.
Former European Council President Donald Tusk additionally didn’t congratulate Putin.
An EU official mentioned: “President Tusk has not despatched such a letter and I’d not be shocked if he doesn’t ship it in any respect.”