EU’s top diplomat Borrell outlines three ways Russia could harm Ukraine

9 February 2022, 02:00 PM

The Kremlin’s aggression is unlikely to grow into a full-blown war, but Russia can do a lot of harm to Ukraine in other ways, EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said on Feb. 8 at an event in Washington D.C.

“I wouldn’t say we were on the eve of a full-fledged war, Second World War style,” said Borrell. He added that he did not believe Russia would invade Ukraine as Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.

However, Borrell called the current situation on Ukraine’s border “the most critical moment since the end of the Cold War.”

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According to the diplomat, Russia is unlikely to engage in “classical fighting” involving the use of infantry and the occupation of cities. At the same time, Borrell believes that Russia “is able to do a lot of harm to Ukraine without putting boots on the ground.”

The EU's top diplomat pointed out three potential tactics Moscow could employ to harm Ukraine, such as cyber-war, political destabilization, and a land-grab of the Donbas territories.

Since the end of Oct. 2021, Russia has been massing troops to the Ukrainian borders.

Russia has since deployed more than 130,000 troops and offensive weapons near the Ukrainian border and in the temporarily occupied territories, according to the latest intelligence estimate from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

The Kremlin says the troop movements are an internal affair of the Russian Federation. At the same time, Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukraine of planning “provocations,” and alleged that Kyiv plans to regain control of the occupied territories by military means. The Kremlin has failed to back up any of its allegations with evidence, however.

The situation on Ukraine's eastern border is a matter of deep concern for both US and European Union officials. According to U.S. President Joe Biden, the White House is looking at a range of options to dissuade Russia from a potential attack on Ukraine.

Biden has defined these measures as “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people believe he may do.”

Proposed measures include cutting Russia off from the SWIFT international banking system, personal sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle, and a ban on U.S. dollar transactions with Russia.

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