Tuesday

18th Jun 2019

EU and US warn Russia against 'humanitarian' invasion of Ukraine

  • The new Russian threat comes as Ukraine forces prepare to attack the rebel stronghold of Donetsk in east Ukraine (Photo: Jeroen Akkermans RTL)

EU and US leaders have warned Russia that more sanctions will follow if it “invades” Ukraine in the name of “humanitarian” aid.

US president Barack Obama issued the threat on Saturday (9 August) following phone calls with German chancellor Angela Merkel and UK prime minister David Cameron.

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.

... or join as a group

His office said in a statement on the call with Merkel: “The two leaders agreed that any Russian intervention in Ukraine, even under purported 'humanitarian' auspices, without the formal, express consent and authorisation of the government of Ukraine is unacceptable, violates international law, and will provoke additional consequences”.

Merkel in her own communique noted that any Russian intervention must have Ukraine’s consent.

Cameron’s office added that: “The international community should impose further, tougher sanctions if Russia pursues such action”.

The warnings come after Russia floated a proposal for sending in humanitarian aid convoys earlier last week at a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York.

The US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, said at the time that if Russian troops openly cross the border it “would be viewed as an invasion of Ukraine”.

US vice president Joe Biden, following a call with Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko also at the weekend, added: “If Russia were serious about improving the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine, it [should] immediately stop its shelling of Ukrainian troops and release Ukrainian hostages being held inside Russia, as well as cut its provision of weapons to Russian proxies operating in Ukraine”.

The EU in July already imposed economic sanctions on Russia, including a ban on purchasing of long-term debt by its top banks and on EU exports of high-end oil drilling technology.

But leaked EU options papers on further restrictive measures indicate that European states have made preparations to go much further if need be, with “high intensity” proposals including a blanket ban on EU investments in Russia as well as an oil and gas embargo.

Russia last week hit back with a ban on imports of EU food which the European Commission says could cost the bloc up to €12 billion in lost trade.

The office of French president Francois Hollande over the weekend said EU institutions are to make sure the "consequences of the embargo are accurately assessed and measures appropriate to the situation are taken”. It added that “special attention will be paid to producers of fruits and vegetables”.

It also echoed Poland in saying the EU is likely to seek redress against Russia using World Trade Organisation (WTO) mechanisms.

“These massive violations by Russia are sufficiently large to threaten it with expulsion from the WTO”, Polish agriculture minister Marek Sawicki told the Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

Individual EU countries are already counting the cost of the Russian ban, with analysts saying it is likely to see a drop in the price of milk and fisheries products in Europe, as well as a hike in the prices of imported meat as Latin American exporters increase shipments to Russia.

Roberto Moncalvo, the head of Italy’s Coldiretti group, told AFP that Russia has already sent back container loads of Grana Padano parmesan cheese.

The Danish Agriculture and Food Council has estimated the Russian ban will cost its members €469 million. Germany has estimated its likely losses at up to €1.6 billion, while Poland has asked the US to open its markets to exports of Polish apples to help compensate.

“There is a greater understanding on account of the fact that the United States has also been hit by Russian sanctions," Poland’s ambasador to the US, Ryszard Schnepf, told Polish press agency Pap.

News in Brief

  1. Romanian ex-PM frontrunner to head new liberal group
  2. France, Germany and Spain in fighter jet deal
  3. Tusk grilled in Poland over role as PM
  4. Italy is 'most credible' US partner in EU, says Salvini
  5. EU blames Sudan junta for killings and rapes
  6. Report: EU may suspend Turkey customs union talks
  7. Swiss stock exchange could lose EU access in July
  8. Austria's Strache will not take up EU parliament seat

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. EU urges Swiss to move on talks or face sanction
  2. Frontex transparency dispute goes to EU court
  3. Commission goes easy on scant national climate plans
  4. Macron and Mogherini decline to back US accusation on Iran
  5. EU summit must give effective answer on migration
  6. Spain's Garcia set to be next Socialist leader in parliament
  7. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  8. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  2. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  5. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  10. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  11. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  12. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us