Ukraine and EU share the goal of deterring Russia, says Kuleba

5 January 2022, 06:25 PM

Ukraine and the European Union share the common goal of deterring Russia from committing more acts of aggression against Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said.

He was at a joint briefing with the EU’s visiting High Representative Josep Borrell in Stanytsia Luhanska in Ukraine’s Donbas region on Jan. 5.

“Ukraine and the EU now have a common goal,” Kuleba said. “We need to use the diplomatic means at our disposal to de-escalate the situation. We also need to make sure that Moscow lowers the tensions and abandons its aggressive intentions. We are systematically working together to deter Moscow. One of the key deterrents is a new package of sanctions, which could hit Russia hard.”

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Kuleba also said Ukraine was committed to diplomacy and a political resolution of the conflict, and was determined to abide by the Minsk peace agreements.

“The EU has been standing side by side with Ukraine against Russia’s aggressive policy,” said Kuleba. “It is not only a matter of political support but also practical solutions. For instance, the EU has recently made Ukraine eligible for the European Peace Fund. EUR 31 million from this fund will be allocated to strengthening the Ukrainian army. This support is aimed at improving Ukraine’s self-defense capabilities.”

Kuleba also added that during his visit to Ukraine Borrell would be given a detailed report on Russia’s repeated violations of the Minsk agreements.

Kuleba also said Borrell was the first EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to visit the Ukrainian-Russian conflict zone.

Borrell arrived in Ukraine on Jan. 4 and will stay until Jan. 6. He will afterwards report on the situation in Ukraine to the EU.

Earlier, on Dec. 23, Borrell spoke to Kuleba by phone, saying that any further aggression against Ukraine by Russia would have massive consequences and severe costs. In late December 2021, Borrell also mentioned that the EU may be considering conducting military training mission in Ukraine.

Borrell and Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Jan. 5 visited the demarcation line in Donbas, where clashes between the Ukrainian army and Russian proxy forces regularly take place.

According to data provided by the independent research group Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT), Russia continues to amass new troops to Ukraine’s border, expanding existing military encampments and deploying more equipment and artillery.

On Dec. 30, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, stated that Ukrainian authorities did not foresee a direct Russian invasion, though earlier that month, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov predicted a surge in Russian military aggression might come against Ukraine in late January 2022.

Moscow has denied any plans for a large-scale invasion. At the same time, Russia has issued an ultimatum to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, demanding a ban on possible Ukrainian membership of NATO and the removal of any NATO troops and weaponry that may currently be in the country.

Currently, over 100,000 Russian troops are estimated to have been deployed along the Ukrainian border.

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