Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, condemned Moscow’s escalation of hostilities.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the EU Council noted that Borrell called on Moscow to cease hostilities immediately and withdraw its troops from Ukraine.
“On 21 September, Russia chose a path of confrontation by announcing a partial mobilisation in Russia, by supporting the organisation of illegal referenda in the Ukrainian territories currently occupied by Russia and by threatening again with the use of weapons of mass destruction,” he pointed out.
Borrell announced the EU would escalate sanctions against Russia and described Moscow’s planned referenda in occupied parts of Ukraine as an illegal “violation of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and a serious violation of the UN Charter.”
He stressed that planned referenda amount to attempted annexation of occupied parts of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia regions.
Borrell reiterated that the EU stands firmly with Ukraine and will continue to support the country’s efforts to regain control of its territory as long as necessary.
He warned that Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine threatens security and peace in Europe and beyond, adding that it affects countries in all parts of the world “in the form of increased food insecurity and rising energy prices.”
“Russia, its political leadership, and all those involved in organising these referenda as well as in other violations of international law and international humanitarian law in Ukraine will be held accountable,” Borrell continued and stressed that the EU will not recognise the areas in question “as anything but a part of Ukraine.”
He pointed out that Ukraine has the right to defend itself against aggression under international law and the UN Charter. Borrell added that the country has the right “to regain full control of its territory and has the right to liberate occupied territories within its internationally recognised borders.
Borrell reiterated that the EU will continue to support Ukraine and concluded that Moscow’s “references to nuclear weapons do not shake our determination, resolve and unity to stand by Ukraine and our comprehensive support to Ukraine’s ability to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty.”