BRUSSELS (Associated Press)-The EU foreign policy chief said on Monday that in the face of a large-scale military addition to the Ukrainian army near the Ukrainian border, only a “spark” will be needed to trigger a confrontation.
In his pessimistic assessment of relations with Moscow, Josep Borrell also stated that the imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navani Is “critical”, a team of 27 countries will hold the Kremlin responsible for his health and safety.
Despite developments, Borrell said after a virtual meeting of EU foreign ministers that “at present, no more sanctions are taken against Russia”.
He also stated that after Prague accused Moscow of participating in the bombing of the ammunition depot in 201
Bowel said that what is more dangerous at the moment is the buildup of the Russian army, including the military field hospital, and “various wars.”
“This is the highest military deployment of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border ever. Obviously, when you deploy a large number of troops, this is a concern.” “Well, sparks can jump here or there.”
Initially, Borrell told reporters: “There are more than 150,000 Russian soldiers on the Ukrainian border and Crimea.” Later, his service had to be corrected in the transcript, and the number was doubled. The actual number exceeds 100,000.
Nevertheless, Borrell said: “The risk of further escalation is obvious.”
Borel declined to say where he got the initial number of 150,000 Russian troops, but called it “my reference figure.” It is higher than the estimate of $110,000 provided by Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Taran on Wednesday.
More than 14,000 people were killed in the seven-year war between the Ukrainian army and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. These wars broke out after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014. The EU firmly opposes annexation, but can do nothing about it.
In recent weeks, efforts to reach a political solution have stalled in the industrial town of Donbas in eastern Ukraine, and violations of the shaky truce have become more frequent.
Diplomats had expected little chance to impose new sanctions on Moscow immediately, but they will now try to exert greater pressure through diplomacy.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said: “Moscow must move from provocation to cooperation.”
Last weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that although the dialogue with Russia is crucial, it must also draw a “clear red line” with Moscow on Ukraine to implement possible sanctions.
Bauer said: “In general, relations with Russia have not improved, but on the contrary, tensions are increasing in all aspects.”
Borel said: “We call on Russia to withdraw its troops.”