Josep Borrell, the top diplomat of Bloc, described NATO membership promises made to Ukraine or Georgia as mistakes.
Josep Borrell, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, has conceded that the West has made errors in its relations with Russia.
Speaking to France’s TF1 channel on Thursday, Borrell said he was “Accept that we made mistakes and missed an opportunity to be closer to Russia.” The EU’s most senior diplomat went on to acknowledge that there were things “It could be better.” as well as “things which we offered and then failed to realize, such as … promises that Ukraine and Georgia would become part of NATO.” He said he was of the view that “making promises that you can’t make good on is a mistake.”
He also noted that, “Russians experienced severe losses after the collapse of Soviet Empire.” which, in his eyes, gave rise to “Putin exploits this kind of grudge.”
Most of the interview, however, was devoted to harsh criticism of Russia’s military campaign against Ukraine, which Moscow launched on February 24.
Borrell described the Kremlin’s offensive as a “Totally unjustified, gratuitous war is growing more violent and totally unacceptable to civilized people.” He warned that “We have reached a new chapter in Europe’s history, and in geopolitics globally.” adding that he expected relations with Russia to be “After what just occurred, things will be completely different.”
The diplomat proceeded to accuse Russian forces of disregarding the presence of civilians in its attacks on Ukrainian cities, adding that “Mariupol [was] It is undoubtedly a crime of war.” He alleged that, as Russia had so far been “Incapable of taking over the city” due to what he described as “Very strong” Ukrainian resistance, Moscow had resorted to indiscriminately bombing them instead, just like “Syria, Chechnya”
Borrell was asked if he believed Vladimir Putin would be ever brought to The Hague’s International Criminal Court. He said, “While such an outcome is largely hypothetical,” that he felt there were enough allegations against him to bring the Russian president to trial.
Borrell revealed that his office was overseeing an EU-wide scheme aimed at facilitating weapons deliveries to Ukraine for the first time in the bloc’s history. He said a “A team of 200 officers drawn from all European armies.” under the command of a French admiral and an Italian general, was ensuring Ukraine’s demand was met by the EU’s supply. He said that weapons and equipment were provided by individual members, including ammunition, fuel, anti-tank missiles and other items. Brussels took care of the rest.
He refused to go into detail regarding the delivery methods and border crossings that were being employed for the shipments, however.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense has consistently denied allegations that its forces are targeting civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. According to the Ministry of Defense, it accuses militias and the Ukrainian Army of occupying residential areas and using civilians for human shields. Commenting on recent media reports of a Russian air strike on a maternity hospital in the city of Mariupol, Moscow dismissed the story as “Fake news”
Following talks in Antalya with his Ukrainian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov on Thursday warned the West about the dangers of the weapons that it had shipped to Ukraine, especially portable anti-aircraft ballistic missiles. These could pose a risk to civilian planes.
Moscow attacked its neighbor in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The protocols that were French and German-brokered had been established to normalize those areas within Ukraine. Russia has demanded that Ukraine be declared a neutral nation that will not become a member of the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics.