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After Touting Military Resolution of Ukrainian Crisis, EU’s Borrell Now Wants Dialogue With Moscow

© AP Photo / Olivier HosletEuropean Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell addresses a video press conference at EU headquarters in Brussels. File photo.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell addresses a video press conference at EU headquarters in Brussels. File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.06.2022
“This war will be won on the battlefield”, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said in April while announcing an additional 500 million euros in EU military assistance to Kiev. In May, the diplomat complained that the bloc had run out of hardware to provide Ukraine and urged the EU to boost its defence capabilities.
Russia and the EU are bound by the confines of geography and must coexist and talk to one another, the EU’s foreign affairs chief has indicated.

“Russia will continue to exist after peace negotiations, and it is necessary to define clearly how we intend to coexist with the country. It will be very difficult after what Russia has done in Ukraine…but we still have to try to coexist with the Russians on this continent”, Borrell said in an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche.

The diplomat assured that the channels of communication with Russia “were never closed”, pointing to Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer’s recent visit to Moscow, African Union Chairman Macky Sall’s trip to Sochi, and visits of United Nations envoys to Russia to discuss Ukraine’s grains exports. “We must continue to talk with Russia”, Borrell emphasised.
Asked about the fate of EU weapons aid to Ukraine, and whether they were achieving the results on the ground that Brussels was hoping for, Borrell characterised the arms deliveries as “war, not a picnic on the grass”, and that Russia was bombing the convoys. He admitted that over the past 100 days, the EU “used a lot of our capabilities in service of Ukraine and it is imperative that our stocks be renewed”.
Surface-to-air Stinger missiles and launchers. File photo  - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.06.2022
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Asked whether Brussels should help Ukraine directly militarily, Borrell stressed that he doesn’t “engage in theology”, and reiterated the need for EU aid to reach Ukrainian forces as quickly as possible, “because they are not waging a conflict with banknotes but with guns”.
“Having said that, all conflicts end with a ceasefire and negotiations, and it is necessary for Ukraine to be able to approach this phase from a position of strength”, the diplomat said.
The EU high representative for foreign affairs’ comments mark a stark contrast with sentiments he expressed in April about to need to “win” the conflict in Ukraine “on the battlefield”, and to tailor weapons deliveries to Kiev’s needs. “We need to continue to increase our pressure on Russia. We have imposed massive sanctions already but more needs to be done on the energy sector, including oil…Ukraine will prevail and rise back even stronger. And the EU will continue to stand by you, ever step of the way”, he promised at the time.
A month later, Borrell complained that the EU had run out of weapons to send, blaming “past budget cuts and underinvestment”.
European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell (C) delivers a speech during a special plenary session of the European Parliament focused on the Russian special operation in Ukraine at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on 1 March 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.05.2022
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The EU has committed to send over two billion euros in aid for the Ukrainian military, on top of roughly 4.1 billion euros to support Kiev’s economy. Last month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed providing Ukraine with an additional nine billion euros in fiscal support, to be paid back at the end of the year.
Since the onset of the Ukraine crisis in 2014, Washington and Brussels have provided Ukraine with tens of billions of euros’ worth of military assistance and economic loans. But assistance has come with conditions, including requirements that the country open its markets, and carry out painful reforms aimed at liberalising its economy. Aid has also occasionally been tied to political preconditions, with then-former Vice President Joe Biden boasting in a 2018 panel meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations on how he had threatened to withhold a $1 billion loan to Kiev unless Ukraine’s president fired a prosecutor investigating the activities of a gas company working with his son Hunter.
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