Brussels is bullying Ukraine – EU leader
While Ukraine has long held ambitions to join the EU, irresponsible officials in Brussels are treating Kiev with contempt, Croatian President Zoran Milanovic has claimed, as tensions heat up across the shared border with Russia.
Speaking on the RTL TV channel on Sunday, Zagreb’s leader shared his opinions on the former Soviet republic’s relations with the 27-member bloc.
According to Milanovic, Kiev “has been in a frightening position in relation to the EU, which treats Ukraine irresponsibly. They have received nothing from the EU, and they have been promised billions and billions.”
He went on, going as far as to say that “Ukraine is being bullied by the same bureaucrats from Brussels who have bullied other states.” He accused officials from the bloc of selling the Eastern European nation “a fog” and “promising them some kind of associated status.”
“The country, according to the EU, is in a very bad situation. They used to be developed, but now the GDP per capita is at the level of Kosovo,” the Croatian president added.
His remarks come amid a tense standoff across the frontier between Russia and Ukraine, with Western leaders accusing Moscow in recent months of a military buildup along the border ahead of an invasion. Last week, Milanovic announced that Zagreb would pull its troops out of NATO contingents stationed in the region should the situation spiral into a full-scale conflict, stating that his country’s authorities “have nothing to do with it and we won’t have anything to do with it.”
The Croatian leader said the escalation of tensions “has nothing to do with Ukraine or Russia.” Instead, he said, “it has to do with the dynamics of American domestic politics – [US President] Joe Biden and his administration, which I supported.”
In December, Moscow handed over two draft proposals: one addressed to Washington and the other to NATO. As well as blocking Kiev from NATO membership, Russia is insisting the bloc should refrain from military activity on the territory of the former Warsaw Pact states that joined after 1997, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Kiev is preparing to formally apply for EU membership in 2024, in the hope of being granted membership within a decade. In October, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said its longstanding ambition to join the EU was being held up due to concerns expressed by member states.
“When you see them face to face, they say they are in your favor, but there are questions from some other countries,” he claimed.