Monday

24th Sep 2018

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.

EU wants continental free-trade deal with Africa

Earlier this week, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in his state of the union announced a new relationship with Africa. On Friday, his subordinates outlined the vision, promising jobs and growth by leveraging public funds for investments.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  2. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected
  3. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  4. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  5. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  6. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  7. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says
  8. Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  5. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  6. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  9. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  11. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us