Saturday

25th Sep 2021

Ukraine warns EU of 'full-scale' Russian attack

Ukraine’s ambassador to the EU has warned Brussels that Russia is preparing “a new full-scaled offensive operation” in Ukraine.

Konstiantyn Yelisieiev wrote in a letter - seen by EUobserver - to EU embassies in Brussels on Wednesday (12 November) that the Russian intention is clear from troop movements and from increasingly hostile anti-Ukraine propaganda.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He urged the EU to put “diplomatic pressure” on Moscow to return to US and EU-mediated peace talks in the so-called Geneva format.

He urged it to impose “a new wave” of preventative sanctions, such as blacklisting more Russian officials and raising the “economic … cost” of Russia's actions.

He also accused Moscow of trying to undermine the political process in Kiev in order to make Ukraine a “failed state”, while calling on Europe to maintain “technical and financial support” in areas such as judicial and constitutional reform.

Yelisieiev’s warning comes ahead of the first meeting of EU foreign ministers, on Monday, to be chaired by the bloc’s new foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.

Mogherini’s spokeswoman, Maja Kocjiancic, told EUobserver that Ukraine will be “one of the main topics” of discussion.

“It’s important that peace efforts continue ... there will be a political debate about the situation on the ground and the EU response”.

Mogherini herself earlier said the ministers might expand EU blacklists on Russia but that talk of further economic sanctions will wait for December’s EU summit.

Fresh assessments by the US and by Nato corroborate Yelisieiev’s warning.

Speaking at the UN Security Council on Wednesday, US ambassador Samantha Power said “Russia is … surging more forces and more equipment across the border”.

She noted that since 9 November, the US has seen: 17 unmarked trucks moving toward the ceasefire line near Donetsk in east Ukraine; movements of 43 more military vehicles in the Donetsk area, some towing large-calibre howitzers and multi-launch rocket systems; and new “columns of … Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems, and Russian combat troops entering Ukraine”.

US general Philip Breedlove, who is also Nato’s top military commander, echoed Power at a think-tank event, also on Wednesday, in Sofia.

“What worries me the most … is that we have a situation now where the former international border, the current international border, of Ukraine and Russia, is completely porous; it is completely wide-open. Forces, money, support, supplies, weapons are flowing back and forth”, he told press at a meeting of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria.

He noted that pro-Russia fighters in east Ukraine control “pockets” of territory, but do not hold strategic airports and have “interrupted” lines of communication.

Ukrainian analysts also say Russia needs to create a land corridor to Crimea, which it annexed in March, but which it can only reach by sea.

In August, Russia seized the town of Novoazovsk in south-east Ukraine, creating a potential staging post for an attack on the Ukrainian-held city of Mariupol - the main obstacle for the Crimea land bridge.

Looking at the recent movements of Russian forces in Ukraine, Breedlove added: “My strategic team believes … that these forces will go in to make this [the patchwork of Russia-controlled territories] a more contiguous, more whole and capable pocket of land in order to then hold onto it long-term”.

Meanwhile, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg told Germany's Bild newspaper on Friday that "in the past days ... Russia has again brought arms, equipment, artillery, tanks, and rockets over the border into Ukraine".

“Putin has clearly broken the truce agreement and has violated Ukraine’s integrity".

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?

Merkel: Russia cannot veto EU expansion

Germany has warned that Russia might try to spread its “sphere of influence” to the Western Balkans, while seeking new ways to make peace on Ukraine.

News in Brief

  1. Italy arrests Puigdemont on Spanish warrant
  2. EU and US hold trade talks despite French wrath
  3. EMA to decide on Pfizer vaccine booster in October
  4. EU welcomes Polish TV-station move
  5. Ukrainian parliament passes law to curb power of oligarchs
  6. EU could force Poland to pay lignite-coal fine
  7. Report: EU and US concerned by tech-giants' power
  8. EU states sign 'transparency pledge'

Opinion

Why Russia politics threaten European security

Russia could expand hostile operations, such as poisonings, including beyond its borders, if it feels an "existential" threat and there is no European pushback.

Analysis

Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity

Investing in the Arab world, in a smart way, is also investing in the European Union's future itself. Let's hope that the disasters of the last decade help to shape the neighbourhood policy of the next 10 years.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed

Latest News

  1. Activists: 'More deaths' expected on Polish-Belarus border
  2. EU unveils common charger plan - forcing Apple redesign
  3. Central Europe leaders rail against 'new liberal woke virus'
  4. Yemen's refugees in 'appalling conditions', says UN agency
  5. VW emissions software was illegal, top EU lawyer says
  6. Sexism and the selection of the European Parliament president
  7. More French names linked to Russia election-monitoring
  8. Negotiations set for new, tougher, EU ethics body

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us