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30 Jan, 2024 02:29

No light at end of Ukrainian tunnel – EU’s Borrell

The top diplomat demands “full cooperation from our partners” on sanctions against Russia
No light at end of Ukrainian tunnel – EU’s Borrell

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said that despite the West’s best efforts to help Ukraine and “weaken” Russia, sanctions have largely failed to achieve their goals, and more cooperation is needed from Central Asian states to isolate Moscow.

The Ukrainian conflict has been “a stark reminder of the critical importance of jointly defending the core principles of the United Nations,” Borrell told the Global Gateway Investors Forum for the European Union-Central Asia Transport Connectivity in Brussels on Monday.

“You know that in order to defend these principles, the European Union has imposed substantial sanctions against Russia, which have significantly weakened its war machine. But still, they are there, and the war continues. And if I can say it, the intensity of the fighting increases and we do not see the light at the end of the tunnel,” the EU’s top diplomat acknowledged.

“In order for these sanctions to be effective, we need full cooperation from our partners. We are following closely the trade between us, between Central Asia countries, with them and Russia. We try to analyze which are the mechanisms that make sanctions being circumvented,” he said.

According to President Vladimir Putin, the Russian economy is in good shape, rapidly expanding, and has even benefitted from Western sanctions, which have forced it to focus more on manufacturing than energy exports.

The sanctions on Russian oil introduced by the G7 and EU late last year were conceived as a means to curtail Moscow’s energy revenues. In reality, however, they have had a boomerang effect, according to a recent study.

Kiev also repeatedly expressed concerns that Moscow is not being isolated as promised by the West, as China and multiple Global South nations have refused to toe the line set by the West, instead maintaining a neutral position.

Amid such “disappointments,” and following the country’s failed summer counteroffensive, Ukrainian authorities will step up efforts to explain to their citizens why they should go to the front line, according to President Vladimir Zelensky’s senior adviser, Mikhail Podoliak. While Kiev doesn’t publish its casualty figures, Russia’s Defense Ministry has estimated that Ukraine’s forces have lost as many as 400,000 troops over the course of the conflict.

Ukraine is also “working hard” to secure Western funding for the country in 2024, according to Prime Minister Denis Shmygal. The US has provided Kiev with around $111 billion in economic and military support to date, but the flow of funds has subsided dramatically as the White House struggles to push through another $60 billion in assistance. The EU has also so far failed to reach an agreement to funnel €50 billion ($54 billion) from the bloc’s budget to Ukraine.