Monday

25th Jun 2018

Three EU countries back Ukraine's use of force

  • Churkin (c) got limited backing from Rwanda amid broader isolation at the UN meeting (Photo: un.org)

Lithuania, Luxembourg and Sweden have explicitly backed Ukraine’s right to use force against pro-Russian separatists.

Lithuania’s UN envoy, Raimonda Murmokaite, and her Luxembourg counterpart, Olivier Maes, made the statements at a snap UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting in New York on Sunday (13 April).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

“When the existence of the state is put in danger, we support the right of Ukraine to defend itself in the face of external aggression and to tackle militant separatism and continuous provocations,” Murmokaite said.

“Ukraine has the right to defend herself under article 51 of the United Nations charter,” Maes noted.

Sweden, which is not on the UNSC, added through its foreign minister, Carl Bildt, on Twitter: “If illegal armed groups took over police stations and local government offices in Sweden we would use all our instruments to restore order.”

The statements came hours before the expiry on Monday morning of an ultimatum issued by Ukraine’s caretaker government for armed pro-Russian separatists to cede control of government buildings in several cities in the eastern regions of Donetsk, Kharkiv, and Luhansk.

Ukraine said three people were already killed in clashes in the small hours of Monday on the outskirts of Slaviansk and in Slaviansk city centre.

The UNSC meeting was called by Russia, which, according to the US and the UK, has 40,000 elite troops massed on the Ukrainian-Russian border.

The Russian UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, urged Wesern powers to stop Kiev from taking action.

“Let’s concentrate attention on what we can do – in this case I'm directing my eyesight at my Western colleagues – in order to prevent the Kiev authorities’ reckless actions, which at this moment are embodied in the criminal order of [acting Ukrainian president] Mr. Turchynov, and to prevent the realisation of this order, which will have the most severe implications primarily for the people of Ukraine,” he said.

He described the Kiev authorities as “national radicals and chauvinists, Russophobic, anti-Semitic forces” and threatened to call off a meeting between the EU, Russia, Ukraine and the US in Geneva on Thursday.

Churkin got limited support from UNSC member Rwanda, whose envoy, Eugene-Richard Gasana, said: “Rwanda remains of the view that military action will only worsen the already tense situation.”

But Australia, France, the UK and the US joined the smaller EU states in condemning Russia’s actions.

Commenting on the escalation in eastern Ukraine since 6 April, the US’ Samantha Power said: “We know who is behind this. Indeed, the only entity in the area capable of these co-ordinated, professional military actions is Russia.”

Britain’s Mark Lyall Grant noted: “The international community is not fooled by the Kremlin’s use of propaganda and misinformation . . . what we are witnessing is a well-orchestrated campaign designed to destabilise the country.”

He described Russia's actions as “tactics drawn from the darkest days of the last century”.

France’s Gerard Araud also complained about Russia’s massive hike in Ukraine gas prices and its blockade of Ukrainian exports in recent days. “The economic pressure is biting more and more,” he said.

The EU and US have threatened to impose economic sanctions on Russia and to blacklist more Russian officials if it invades mainland Ukraine.

But EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday are not ready to go ahead if the crisis escalates suddenly.

The ministers are still waiting for the European Commission to prepare a sanctions options paper, due mid-week, among disagreement between EU countries on how far to go.

"I don't think we'll see tier-three [economic] sanctions tomorrow, but it's very difficult to envisage not seeing anything after the events of the weekend," a Western diplomatic source told Reuters on Sunday.

"The real question will be to see whether [EU] member states agree to ask [the EU foreign service] to prepare an additional list of restrictive measures,” a senior EU official told the news agency.

Analysis

Trump befriends Conte, depresses EU

Most EU leaders found US president Donald Trump "depressing" at the G7, but one of them - Italy's Giuseppe Conte - made a new friend.

Opinion

Europe could lose out in North Korean bonanza

South Korean businesses including Hyundai and Samsung are already scoping investment opportunities. Will North Korea become a 'new Vietnam' opportunity - or more like Myanmar, where slow Brussels policy-making meant EU exporters lost out.

News in Brief

  1. EP civil liberties committee votes for Article 7 on Hungary
  2. Report blames 2017 egg scare on lax EU enforcement
  3. Nine countries to sign up for Macron's military initiative
  4. Re-elected Erdogan potentially in power until 2028
  5. Macron's popularity drops among French pensioners
  6. Tajani calls for €6bn investment to halt migration
  7. Major demo in London for second EU referendum
  8. Venice Commission: Hungary should repeal NGO law

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  2. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  4. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  5. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  7. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  11. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  12. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform

Latest News

  1. Progressive CAP alternative only hope for sustainability
  2. Ponytailed green MEP joins 'the other side of the table'
  3. EU leaders still in search of migration plan
  4. Migration row at centre of EU summit This Week
  5. Merkel's woes cast shadow on EU's future
  6. Europe's tech race - trying to keep pace with US and China
  7. Merkel and Juncker's mini-summit risks fiasco
  8. Greece and creditors proclaim 'end of crisis'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  2. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  3. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  5. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  8. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  10. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  11. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  12. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us