Thursday

18th Apr 2019

Merkel: ‘Grave concern’ on new Russian tanks in Ukraine

  • Merkel has also called for fresh EU sanctions over rebel 'elections' in east Ukraine (Photo: bundeskanzlerin.de)

German chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday (7 November) voiced “grave concern” over reports of a new Russian military incursion in east Ukraine.

Her office said in a communique after Merkel spoke with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko by phone that she: “expressed her grave concern about recent reports that speak of renewed Russian troop movements on Ukrainian territory”.

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

She also voiced worry about “ongoing fighting and the deteriorating humanitarian situation" in the separatist-controlled regions.

For his part, Poroshenko warned Merkel of a “substantial rollback in the implementation of the Minsk protocol [a September ceasefire accord], which leads to further escalation of the conflict”.

He complained that Russia keeps sending what it calls “humanitarian aid convoys” into Ukrainian territory without Ukraine’s permission.

He also noted that Russia is delaying payments for gas transit for September and October in a development which augurs badly for the implementation of an EU-brokered agreement on winter supplies.

The same day, Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the Ukrainian military, said on TV that 32 Russian tanks, 16 artillery systems, and 30 trucks carrying ammunition had entered Ukraine’s Luhansk region.

“Supplies of military equipment and enemy fighters from the Russian Federation are continuing,” he noted.

But the Russian foreign ministry, in a statement one day earlier, accused the Ukrainian side of violating peace accords.

“Instead of de-escalating tensions, Kiev has stepped up hostilities and is using heavy weaponry in the southeastern regions, which has claimed thousands of lives and led to large-scale destruction”, it said.

The threat of military escalation comes after pro-Russian fighters in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics installed new leaders and “MPs” in "elections" rejected by the EU, the UN, the OSCE, and Nato.

Merkel had earlier said the votes would lead to another “frozen conflict” in Europe and warned, in a statement on Wednesday, that the EU should consider expanding its blacklist to include “certain personalities who now, because of these illegitimate elections in eastern Ukraine, have responsibility”.

The Russian foreign ministry said at the time that it “respects the expression of will of the south-eastern [Ukrainians]”.

But a Kremlin aide, Yuri Ushakov, told press on Friday that its use of the word “respect” instead of the more official word “recognise” is important in the way the EU should react to Russia’s treatment of the separatists.

“The word 'respect' was chosen deliberately … we fundamentally respect the will of the voters”.

EU and UN reject 'farcical' east Ukraine votes

The EU, the UN, and Nato have rejected the outcome of “so-called elections” in east Ukraine, but Russia and a handful of fringe MEPs gave their stamp of approval.

Interview

Kasparov: Stop Putin now or pay the price later

Twenty five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Kasparov, a former Soviet chess icon, tells EUobserver that Europe risks entering a dark new chapter in history.

Opinion

Ukraine: Something bad in the air

Signs point to an upcoming escalation in Russia's war on Ukraine. But if it happens, what will the West do?

EU migrants sneaking into US from Mexico

Almost 1,000 Romanian nationals were caught trying to sneak into the United States in 2017, of which around half attempted to cross via Mexico. Nationals from countries like Hungary and the UK were also intercepted.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us