Borrell: Russia’s war vs. Ukraine, price hikes are “test of resilience”
Brussels, Jul 18 (EFE).- The European Union’s top foreign affairs official, Spain’s Josep Borrell, said Monday that “European society has to be aware” that the war Russia launched against Ukraine and its affects on increasing inflation and energy costs are “a test of resilience.”
“European society has to be aware that this is a test of resilience and we have to have enough resilience to continue supporting Ukraine. We don’t have any other option,” said Borrell at a press conference following the meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday in Brussels.
The EU diplomatic chief said that “I am sure (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s counting on democratic fatigue” because “he believes that democracies are weak,” but “European societies cannot afford fatigue.”
“These are the consequences of the war. Wars have these consequences. Fortunately, we did not suffer bombardments like the Ukrainians, and we didn’t have to flee our homes. But yes, the whole world is suffering the consequences of a war and the policies that Putin is using to accompany the war,” Borrell said.
To deal with this, “European societies and European Union member states (and) governments have to continue standing behind the decisions they have taken” to approve sanctions they imposed against Russia with the Kremlin’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
“The sanctions are not a mistake,” said Borrell, adding that “it’s completely wrong” to say that the EU agreement to ban maritime imports of Russian oil by the end of this year is the cause of the price hikes.
The price of petroleum “has risen to the same level it had just before the war started,” he said, displaying a graphic to the press.
Along the same lines, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said that although there are differences “between one country and another” regarding the implementation of the sanctions, “the important thing” is that “they are a correct decision and must continue.”
Specifically, the foreign ministers briefly discussed the new round of sanctions presented last Friday by the European Commission consisting, mainly, of banning imports of Russian gold and adding new names to the list of EU sanctions.
The details, however, were discussed Monday afternoon among the ambassadors of the 27 to the EU.
The ministers agreed to allocate an additional 500 million euros ($508 million) to finance the shipment of weaponry to Ukraine, these funds to come from the European Peace Facility, a decision that still requires the formal approval of certain national parliaments, although that is considered a mere formality.
When the new disbursement is approved, the EU will have allocated 2.5 billion euros ($2.54 billion) to replace part of the money that member states are spending to send war materiel and supplies to Kyiv.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that given that Brussels is going on vacation it’s a good opportunity to note that Russian troops have no plans to take any days off from their military offensive.
The EU nations also agreed to fight the disinformation being fomented and spread by countries like Russia and they agreed that digital diplomacy must be a “basic component” and a “fundamental part” of EU foreign policy.
“Digital issues are no longer just a matter of engineers, no longer technical matters,” Borrell said, adding that they will now constitute “the battleground of technology, of values and narrative.”