The EU sees no reason to dramatize the tensions between Ukraine and Russia. It does not intend to follow the United States which recalls the families of their diplomats, announced Monday Josep Borrell. London, on the other hand, is withdrawing part of its staff.
The US State Department ordered the evacuation of the families of its diplomats stationed in Kiev on Sunday evening and advised against travel to Russia, as a consultation with European countries, hitherto held to away from the Russian-American negotiations on Ukraine.
“Secretary Blinken will explain to us the reasons for this announcement. We are not going to do the same, because we do not know the specific reasons”, explained the head of European diplomacy on his arrival for the meeting with the ministers of foreign countries. EU Foreign Affairs devoted to tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Antony Blinken must intervene by videoconference during this meeting.
“We believe that a Russian invasion (…) could happen at any moment,” a senior American official told reporters on Sunday evening to justify the decision to ask the families of American diplomats to leave the country.
“I don’t think we have to overreact to the extent that the negotiations are going on, and they are going on. I don’t think we have to leave Ukraine and go. But maybe Secretary Blinken has more information. which he will share with us”, added Josep Borrell.
“We have not taken any decision to request the departure of the families of our diplomats from Ukraine, unless Blinken provides us with information justifying such a movement”, he further said.
London, for its part, followed Washington’s lead and announced on Monday the withdrawal of personnel from its embassy in Kiev in the face of the “growing threat” from Russia. However, the embassy will remain open.
“Premature” and “excessive” decision
Ukraine, for its part, considered “premature” and “excessive” Washington’s decision to recall the families of its diplomats stationed in Kiev.
Russia is accused by the West of having massed tens of thousands of soldiers on the Ukrainian border and of preparing an imminent invasion of its neighbor. Eastern Ukraine has since 2014 been embroiled in a war between Kiev forces and pro-Russian separatists of which the Kremlin is widely seen as the military and financial sponsor.
Despite the current tension, “the security situation has not undergone any radical change in recent times: the threat of new waves of Russian aggression has remained constant since 2014 and the build-up of Russian troops on the (Ukrainian) border started already in last April,” said Nikolenko.
He called for “keeping calm”, while denouncing Moscow’s “efforts” to “destabilize the internal situation in Ukraine”.
The Europeans are in any case ready to respond with massive economic and financial sanctions to an intervention by Russia in Ukraine. A series of options have been prepared by the European Commission and must be submitted for approval to the Member States.
“Nothing concrete will be approved today,” said Josep Borrell. “The decision-making process on sanctions is complex. Sanctions must be decided by the Council on a proposal from the High Representative, that is to say me, or a member state”, he explained.
“We want to act in close coordination with our allies, with the United States in particular, but also with Canada and the United Kingdom,” he stressed. “For now, we continue to build a set of strong sanctions. The process is underway to ensure that everything will be ready when needed,” he said.