Borrell: We expect the best, we prepare for the worst


European Commission Vice-President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell addresses concern over Russian troop movements on the Ukrainian border in Strasbourg on Tuesday. the situation on the Ukrainian border and in the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine.

We expect the best, but we prepare for the worst. “If the situation worsens we will be ready to respond,” Borel said. He noted that “we are in a precautionary phase. We use diplomacy to be ready for any scenario and to respond to any that arises,” he added.

“Ukraine is very close to us for this and we are concerned about the movements of Russian troops,” Borrell said, adding that he had discussed the issue with the G7 and the US, Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers.

Mr Borrell reiterated the EU’s support for Ukraine in relation to its internationally recognized borders. He said that according to Russian sources, nothing is happening, that is, the Russians are moving military forces inside their national territory.

But given the precedent between Ukraine and Russia, the concern of the Ukrainians, whom we should support, is justified, he said.

He said that today “we are in a phase of prevention and deterrence to avoid an escalation and we use all avenues to prevent any conflict”, emphasizing that “we are making every effort in this direction”.

He noted that all EU member states expressed support for Ukraine in the Council of Foreign Ministers yesterday.

Mr Borrell also said that “reforms are a key component of Ukraine ‘s resilience to external threats.”

He spoke of trying to undermine Ukraine’s integrity after Crimea. He said that if something like this happened again, it would have serious political consequences and a high political and economic cost.

We must act together, we are in consultation with the transatlantic partners and the G7 statement was very clear. “We have asked Russia to de-escalate, use diplomatic channels and abide by its international commitments,” he said.

He noted that “we are in a phase of deterrence and precautionary action, in the context of diplomacy, through cooperation with France and Germany to resolve the issue of Eastern Ukraine.”

“We are considering various possible scenarios and told Russia that it should abide by the Minsk agreement and, of course, if necessary, we will take restrictive measures against Russia,” he said, adding that “we must show determination to act.”

He said that Ukraine as an independent country can have the policy that it deems best, and we accept that.

“Eight years ago, at the beginning of the conflict, we were on the side of Ukraine unreservedly. After the annexation of Crimea by Russia, we supported Ukraine,” he said.

He added that “we want our partners to have strategic capabilities to build resilience and fight misinformation.”

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