Coordination in the EU and G7
The EU Foreign Ministers met in Brussels yesterday (21 february) for the regular meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council. They got together again in Paris today (22 february) for an informal special meeting. In addition to that, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock convened a conference call of G7 Foreign Ministers. Its focus: the unlawful recognition by Russia of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in eastern Ukraine as independent entities. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stressed before the EU meeting in Paris:
Two things are important now: firstly, that we want to show a stop sign making it clear that this action is not acceptable. Secondly, we need to prevent further escalation. For this we need unity between European partners and our transatlantic partners and, above all, the international community. That is why I have just invited my colleagues to a G7 Foreign Ministers’ conference call. And we are just about to have an informal Foreign Ministers’ meeting here in Paris to make it clear that we condemn – jointly and with one voice – this violation of international law, and that we will now take far-reaching measures and initiate sanctions which are coordinated and can be further tightened.
Continued intensive diplomatic efforts
The deployment of Russian troops engaged in manoeuvres along the border with Ukraine has been observed for many weeks. Foreign Minister Baerbock emphasised:
Of course, we wanted to prevent this situation. At the same time, we have been intensively preparing for this situation, as well as other scenarios, during the last few weeks. That is why we now have such great unity between the G7 partners and the Europeans. We have always made it clear that we want to get round the negotiating table to prevent further escalation and to ensure that this Russia crisis does not worsen. The Russian Government has now decided the opposite, namely to violate international law, that it wants to take action against peaceful co‑existence in Europe. We will respond with one voice.