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24 Jan, 2022 20:00

EU urges against ‘nervous breakdown’ over Ukraine

Nothing to suggest ‘imminent’ Russian invasion, says top diplomat
EU urges against ‘nervous breakdown’ over Ukraine

The EU would strongly support the Ukrainian government in the event of a Russian invasion, but there is no reason to believe one is imminent, the bloc’s top diplomat told reporters after consultations with Washington, on Monday.

There are “no new elements” that would raise fears of an imminent attack by Russia, the EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell explained. He was speaking after an EU Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, during which they were briefed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Now is not the time for a “nervous breakdown” over Ukraine, the EU diplomat said. He also noted that the US secretary of state clarified media reports about “evacuations” from Kiev to his European colleagues.

“Blinken told us it was not an evacuation. It was non-essential staff being told they are free to decide to leave the country if they want to,” Borrell said. The EU said earlier it had no plans to evacuate its diplomats from Kiev.

US President Joe Biden is expected to hold a secure video call on the topic of Ukraine, with leaders of EU, France, UK, Germany, Italy, and NATO on Monday afternoon.

Blinken “consulted” his EU colleagues on the written response the US is preparing to deliver to Russia regarding Moscow’s proposals for European security, Borrell said. 

He also told reporters that a group of European Parliament members will travel to Kiev on January 30, and that the EU is considering holding a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers there as well, “to show our solidarity and commitment to Ukraine.”