On Friday, faced with Russia’s military threat against Ukraine, the European Union’s foreign ministers adopted a joint position calling for tensions to be eased and dialogue to take place without ruling out new sanctions should Moscow attack its neighbors.
At the informal meeting in Brest, France, foreign officials came together to discuss the situation in Ukraine, where the deployment of tens of thousands of Russian military personnel raised alarms of possible aggression.
The common position consists of ten points and from the outset rejects the Kremlin’s intention to change the security order in Europe. The 27 reject Russia’s “Sphere of Influence in Europe” after demanding guarantees that neighbors like Ukraine and Georgia will not join NATO.
“It can neither rewrite history nor go back in time,” said the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, at a press conference on the Russian demands.
The member states have also called on Russia to de-escalate tensions on the Ukrainian border and to support the path of dialogue with the USA, the OSCE and NATO that was opened this week.
Borrell has indicated that Russia is trying to “ignore and divide the EU” after it was not present as such in the talks, but stressed the coordination of the last few days with Washington with “more than a hundred contacts”.
“Russia is trying to divide us, but it has failed, we have a common front,” he said after the Decalogue agreed between the European partners and stressed that the EU was involved before, during and after contacts with Moscow.
In any case, in the event of a Russian attack on Kiev, Borrell pointed out that the countries had committed to defend Ukraine and reiterated that any aggression will have “heavy costs” on Russia as it will entail coordinated EU sanctions will draw and other international partners.
The 27 do not rule out sanctions and insist that they are prepared for the development of the Ukraine crisis, but in defense of dialogue they tend to work on mechanisms that will increase the transparency of military maneuvers and more trust between Russians and Europeans .
The Decalogue contains the fundamental elements that the EU defends in relation to the security order, without prejudice to the dialogue with Moscow, ultimately Europe’s largest and most powerful neighbor, which remains central to the bloc.