Friday

27th Apr 2018

EU and US voice concern on reports of Russian tanks in Ukraine

  • The pro-Russia camp in Donetsk is a copy of the old pro-EU camp in Kiev (Photo: dasjo)

The EU and US have urged Russia to stop arming Ukraine rebels after Ukraine said Russian tanks and artillery crossed the border on Thursday (12 June).

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Ukraine’s new leader, Petro Poroshenko, told him about the tanks in a phonecall.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“It is very important that Russia ceases any kind of military actions in this area,” Barroso noted in a statement.

Jen Psaki, the US State Department spokeswoman, told press in Washington: “If these latest reports [on tanks] are true, which I don’t have confirmation of, this incursion marks a serious and disturbing escalation.”

The US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, on Friday morning gave credence to Poroshenko’s report.

He tweeted a link to video footage showing tanks rolling down a street in rebel-held east Ukraine, adding: “Kremlin! Tanks in Donetsk – this is your 'humanitarian assistance' to Ukraine?”.

The escalation comes as the EU and Ukraine prepare to sign a free trade treaty on 27 June which will legally bind Ukraine to stay out of Russia’s Eurasian Union.

The EU and US say they will impose economic sanctions on Russia if it does not cease hostilities in the run-up to the date.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Poroshenko also spoke by phone on Thursday in what Barroso called a “positive step”.

Meanwhile, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told press he has his own reports that Ukraine is using phosphorous bombs, which are banned by the UN.

He said Russia is to file a UN Security Council resolution calling on Ukraine to stop fighting the rebels.

But the US spokeswoman, Psaki, dismissed the move. She told the Washington press corps: “We find it hypocritical for the Russian leadership to call for an end to violence or call on the Ukrainians to take these steps when Russian separatists are abetting the violence and bringing weapons illegally into the country.”

Speaking in a separate interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, German defence minister Ursula Von der Leyen noted that Putin and Lavrov statements carry less weight than they used to.

“Vladimir Putin has destroyed an enormous amount of trust with his conduct ... Currently, Russia is not a partner. Partners adhere to joint agreements”, she said.

She noted that Germany is contributing to an increase in Nato's military presence in former Iron Curtain members: “President Putin knows that Nato stands solidly behind its eastern members. That's why he won't touch the sovereignty or integrity of these countries.”

The EU’s Barroso spoke on Ukraine while on a tour of three other former Soviet republics which are building closer EU ties.

On Wednesday and Thursday he visited Moldova and Georgia, which are to sign EU trade treaties along with Ukraine, and on Friday he went to Azerbaijan, which is to supply gas for an EU pipeline bypassing Russia.

He said the EU is spending €131 million on support for visa-free travel, energy reform, and rural development in Moldova this year. It has also doubled tariff-free import quotas on Moldovan fruit and vegetables.

He noted that closer EU ties can “benefit” Transniestria - a Russian-occupied breakaway region - if Transniestria puts “the right dispositions” in place.

With Russia threatening trade sanctions on Moldova if it signs the EU pact, Barroso added: “I call upon Russia to take advantage of the new opportunities and not to take punitive measures … There is no economic reason nor legal justification for such behaviour.”

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  2. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  3. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  6. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  7. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  9. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  10. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  11. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  12. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off

Latest News

  1. EU tells platforms to sort fake news by October or face new law
  2. Civil society chief: social media can't replace engagement
  3. The reality behind the €7 'Brexit bombshell visa'
  4. Commission wants bigger post-Brexit budget
  5. Whistleblowers could be enforcers of rule of law in Europe
  6. EU shelves Macron idea for 'European Darpa'
  7. Don't play EU 'games' with military HQs
  8. EU had a plan for Jordan - now it's time to make it work

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  2. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  5. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  6. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  9. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  10. European Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  11. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  12. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe