The EU and Canada take Russia’s threat against Ukraine “very seriously,” top diplomats reiterated on Thursday.
“Russia is already in Ukraine, and there is a threat of further invasion,” Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly told reporters at a joint news conference with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell following their meeting on the situation in Ukraine.
Borrell and Joly recently held a series of discussions in Brussels on the most pressing foreign policy matters.
In the first part of the talks, they discussed the Russian military build-up in and around Ukraine, as well as last week’s key diplomatic engagements between NATO allies and Russia.
When asked about US President Joe Biden’s recent remarks implying less severe consequences for a “minor incursion” in Ukraine, Borrell said the Russian threat is “important” and “we take it very seriously.”
“When you land 140,000 troops, you can use it in many different ways,” he explained.
“We know that the threat is real, that’s why I am here after my visit to Ukraine,” Joly said.
The partners reiterated their strong support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
They also rejected Russia’s security proposal, calling it an attempt by Moscow to undermine European security and “redefine the security arrangement and restore old fashioned and outdated spheres of influence.”
Borrell and Jolly said they will continue to discuss the situation in the West Bank, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Venezuela later.
Later in the day, Joly will meet with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Negotiations between Russia and Western countries on the draft treaties on European security arrangements proposed by Moscow ended without progress last week.
On Wednesday, Biden said he expected Russia to “move in” to Ukraine, but admitted that the response to a “minor incursion” would prompt discussions among NATO allies.
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