EU top diplomat Borrell fears Russia will claim annexation of occupied Ukrainian territories

18 January 2022, 10:44 PM

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has said he is concerned that Russia may de facto annex the currently occupied eastern regions of Ukraine in the Donbas, German weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported on Jan. 18.

 Borrell, at a European Parliament session in Strasbourg, pointed out that the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, currently occupied by Russian proxy forces, “are moving further and further away from Ukraine” and are getting “closer and closer to Russia.”

According to him, this creates the threat of a gradual annexation of the Donbas by Russia. The EU foreign policy chief also stressed that he was concerned about the “de facto integration” of eastern regions of Ukraine into Russia.

Video of day

Russian policies such as “passportization,” where Russia offers Russian passports, and thus citizenship, to the Ukrainian residents of the occupied territories, as well as the alignment of standards and education, could be seen as signs of this process.

However, Borrell discounted fears of a possible renewed Russian invasion against Ukraine, arguing that it was “not the most probable scenario.” However, according to him, there are “other attack possibilities, for instance, cyber-attacks.”

On Jan. 14, the UK’s Guardian newspaper and CNN reported that Russia had deployed covert operatives in Ukraine for a special-forces operation which may lead to a military invasion. Later, the Pentagon and the White House both confirmed that the United States had intelligence regarding a possible Russian false flag attack.

Russia has been deploying troops to Ukrainian borders since the end of October. Western media outlets have speculated that Russia may invade with a force of up to 175,000 in early 2022.

In early December, Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov said that a new wave of Russian military aggression against Ukraine might start at the end of January 2022.

On Jan. 18, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Russia could invade Ukraine under the guise of “protecting Russian citizens”, facilitated by its passportization policy.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google News

Ukraine Today
Fresh daily newsletter covering the top headlines and developments in Ukraine
Daily at 9am EST
Show more news