Paris/Brussels, Jan 7 (EFE).- European leaders on Friday insisted that any solution to the conflict with Russia in eastern Ukraine must include the EU, ahead of crunch talks between Moscow and Washington next week.
Speaking at a joint press conference in Paris with French president Emmanuel Macron to mark the beginning of France’s six-month presidency of the European Council, Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said, “No solution will go through without Europe. Whatever the solution, it has to go through Europe.”
Macron said the US-Russia talks beginning Monday in Geneva were a positive step towards easing tensions on the border with Ukraine, where Moscow has been amassing troops in recent months.
At a Nato summit in Brussels, secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg also welcomed those bilateral talks, adding that the alliance would also “engage in dialogue in good faith.”
“But at the same time, we need to be prepared that the talks break down and that diplomacy will fail,” Stoltenberg said, warning of “severe consequences” if Russia “once again decides to use military force”.
Relations between the West and Moscow have been strained since Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 following the ouster of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych and backed separatists in an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. EFE