The head of EU foreign policy has stated that the organization must take seriously Vladimir Putin’s threats that he may use nuclear weapons in the crisis in Ukraine.
The fight has come to a “dangerous point,” Josep Borrell told BBC’s Lyse Doucet.
He made these comments as Russia started to partially mobilize and moved to conquer four areas of Ukraine.
Mr. Putin has experienced defeats on the battlefield when a Ukrainian counteroffensive forced his forces to retreat.
The Russian army has been forced into a corner, and Mr. Borrell characterized Putin’s response — threatening to deploy nuclear weapons — as “extremely awful.”
Analysts concur that, seven months after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, President Putin’s forces are in retreat, but he insisted that a diplomatic solution must be found that “preserves the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
The battle may be won, but there would be no peace and another conflict, he said.
Putin stated his nation possessed “different weapons of devastation” and would “employ all the measures available to us” in a rare speech to the nation earlier this week. He added, “I’m not kidding.
“You have to take folks seriously when they say it’s not a bluff,” Mr. Borrell added.
In the same address, President Putin declared that 300,000 Russians who had completed their conscription would be called up. This sparked protests and stories of individuals evacuating the nation to escape being deployed to the front lines.
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It comes after a quick counterattack in which Ukraine claims to have reclaimed more than 8,000 sq km (3,088 sq miles) from Russian soldiers.
In four occupied territories, so-called referendums on joining Russia are now being held. These have been described as annexation efforts, and according to reports from Ukraine, armed Russian troops are canvassing neighborhoods for votes.
As this expensive conflict rages on with no apparent end in sight, Ukraine has taken center stage at the UN General Assembly this year. The head of foreign policy for Europe was shockingly direct and clearly distressed.
He expressed the fearful cries he had been hearing all around him. Everyone was asking him when this conflict would stop, from vacationing friends to international leaders visiting the UN General Assembly this week. He hated that the cry “Stop this war, I can’t pay my power bill” was so widespread..
Mr. Borrell was ready to declare in public what many people only express in private, namely that Europe and its allies were finding it difficult to manage the narrative of this war as Russia tries to portray European sanctions against it as the cause of this misery.
But they are also paying attention to Moscow’s recent and frightening threats, including a barely covert nuclear threat. The majority of Western leaders, including Mr. Borrell, continue to be emphatic about the necessity to continue fighting in a war that will have many long-lasting effects, especially for Ukraine but also on many other countries.
Borrell dismissed worries that the EU’s arsenal was running low on weapons and argued that the organization must continue to defend Ukraine militarily, impose economic penalties on President Putin and his supporters, and engage in diplomatic activities.
He acknowledged that the growing cost of electricity due to the conflict was a reason for worry.
The Spanish politician stated that he has heard similar worries from leaders from Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. “People in my nation tell me the price of the gas means we cannot continue working, we cannot continue making my business operate,” he added.
“To dance the tango, you need two,” Mr. Borrell said in a request for President Putin to contribute to a negotiated settlement.
“Each and every person who has traveled to Moscow to meet with Putin in the Kremlin has returned with the same response: “I [Putin] have military objectives, and if I don’t get these military objectives, I will continue the struggle.” Undoubtedly, this is a worrying development, but we must continue to assist Ukraine “he stated.