Thursday

21st Mar 2019

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

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

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.

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. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Latest News

  1. EPP suspends Orban's Fidesz party
  2. Macron is confusing rigidity with strength
  3. May tosses Brexit spanner into EU machinery
  4. Centre-right EPP faces showdown with Orban
  5. A compromise proposal for the Article 50 extension
  6. US glyphosate verdict gives ammunition to EU activists
  7. Have a good reason for Brexit extension, Barnier tells UK
  8. EU countries push for new rule of law surveillance

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  2. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  3. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  5. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  6. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us