Sunday, June 16, 2024

“Ukraine will surrender within days if West withdraws help”:  EU’s foreign policy chief

EU top diplomat, Josep Borrell

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine can be ended in just several days, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell claimed to Spanish broadcaster La Sexta on Wednesday, arguing that it all depends on Western military supplies to Kiev.

“I know how to end the war immediately,” Borrell told La Sexta’s El Intermedio show. “Stop providing military aid to Ukraine and Ukraine [will] have to surrender in a few days. That’s it, the war is over,” the EU top diplomat insisted.

Borrell acknowledged that would not be the outcome that the EU and other Western nations wanted. The bloc’s foreign-policy chief claimed that an immediate end to the conflict on such terms would see Ukraine “occupied” and “turned into a puppet country” that is “deprived of its freedoms.” 

“Is this how we want the war to end?” he asked rhetorically. Borrell then blamed the continued hostilities on Moscow, saying that Russia has repeatedly insisted it would not stop until all the goals of its military campaign are achieved. He also criticized the peace efforts by China and Brazil, claiming they are detached from reality.

Everyone, who says they want peace should then say … ‘I want Russia to withdraw from Ukraine,” Brussels’ foreign-policy chief maintained, adding that he has little understanding for anyone thinking otherwise. “Those, who say: ‘I want peace and the best thing to achieve it is for the Europeans to cease helping Ukraine’ … frankly, I do not know what world they live in,” he said.

Kiev promptly reacted to Borrell’s words, accusing him of having the “wrong emphasis” in his speech. Withdrawal of Western military aid “could certainly not end the conflict immediately,” President Vladimir Zelensky’s aide Mikhail Podoliak said on Twitter. It would only lead to further escalation as hostilities would spill over to “other territories,” he claimed, without elaborating.

Borrell’s words came less than a day after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also expressed skepticism about Brazilian and Chinese peace efforts. Any mediation efforts would be in vain for now since both parties to the conflict are still “fully involved” in the fighting, he told Spain’s El Pais on Tuesday.

The Kremlin said in late April it supported international efforts aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the conflict but maintained that its goals in the campaign must be achieved.

Russian President Vladimir Putin cited the need to protect the people of Donbass, as well as Kiev’s failure to implement the 2014-2015 Minsk peace accords, as reasons for launching Russia’s operation against Ukrainian forces in February 2022. He also said Russia was seeking the “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine.

Moscow has also accused Kiev of making any potential talks senseless since Ukraine is demanding Russia surrender all the territories that joined it following referendums, including the most recent, in autumn 2022.

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