The Council of the European Union has condemned Russia’s continued aggressive actions and threats against Ukraine, and it calls on Russia to de-escalate, abide by international law and engage constructively in dialogue.

A statement entitled “European security situation: notions of ‘spheres of influence’ have no place in the 21st century” was approved by the Foreign Ministers of all 27 EU Member States at the meeting in Brussels on Monday, 24 January.

“Dialogue in line with the key principles that underpin the European security is the way to improve the security situation and to safeguard peace and stability on our continent. Notions of “spheres of influence” have no place in the 21st century,” the document reads.

The Council also emphasised that “any challenge to the European security order affects the security of the EU and its Member States.”

“The Council reaffirms the EU’s unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and our other Eastern neighbourhood partners within their internationally recognised borders. The Council underlines its support for the existing international frameworks for the sustainable and peaceful resolution of conflicts in accordance with international law and calls on Russia to re-engage constructively in these established frameworks in good faith,” the statement says.

Recalling the European Council Conclusions from December 2021, the Council reiterates that “any further military aggression by Russia against Ukraine will have massive consequences and severe costs.” This includes a wide array of sectoral and individual restrictive measures that would be adopted in coordination with partners. The Ministers added that “the EU has accelerated the preparatory work in this direction.”

At the same time, the Member States expressed readiness to engage in strengthening the existing mechanisms to ensure military transparency and predictability, and to support efforts regarding arms control.

In addition, the Council reaffirmed “the united approach of the EU and the ongoing, strong cooperation and coordination of the EU and its Member States with the United States, NATO, Ukraine and other partner countries.” In particular, it referred to further strengthening of the resilience against cyber- and hybrid attacks, foreign information manipulation and interference, including disinformation.

Bohdan Marusyak

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