EU foreign ministers on Tuesday are set to decide on sanctions against Russia, the EU foreign policy chief said.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the Ministerial Forum for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific in Paris, Josep Borrell said he convened an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers taking advantage of the fact that nearly all of them are in the French capital.
The EU ministers will hold an “informal meeting and take a political decision on the European response” to the crisis on the Ukrainian-Russian border, he said.
“I wouldn’t say it is full-fledged invasion but Russian troops are in Ukrainian soil,” Borrell asserted, underlining that Russian troops are in Donbas.
The response will “obviously take the form of sanctions,” he asserted, adding that he is sure that the EU ministers will find unanimity to adopt his proposals.
He said that the ministers are expected to decide “on the urgent matters” as quickly as possible.
“Quick means here, in Paris this afternoon,” he explained.
Borrell said that he had phone calls with top US, UK, Canadian and Ukrainian diplomats to coordinate their position.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Russia’s recognition of the regions in a speech on Monday in which he also attacked Ukraine’s government and the US and accused the West of ignoring Moscow’s core security concerns.
Along with Russia’s military buildup, tensions have recently risen dramatically in eastern Ukraine, with reports of a growing number of cease-fire violations, multiple shelling incidents, and the evacuation of civilians from the pro-Russian separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The US and its European allies have said that Russia is setting the stage to invade Ukraine after having amassed over 100,000 troops and heavy equipment in and around its neighbor.
Russia has denied that it is preparing to invade and instead accuses Western countries of undermining its security through NATO’s expansion towards its borders.
In 2014, Moscow began supporting separatist forces in eastern Ukraine against the central government, a policy that it has maintained since then. The conflict has taken more than 13,000 lives, according to the UN.
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