Ukraine attack will have 'consequences,' EU, US warn Russia
January 24, 2022
Russian aggression against Ukraine will have "severe costs," the head of NATO has said after a meeting with European leaders and US President Biden. Earlier, EU foreign ministers met to agree on a joint strategy.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that Western allies stood united in their warning to Moscow that a Russian attack on Ukraine will provoke a tough response.
"We agree that any further aggression by Russia against Ukraine will have severe costs," Stoltenberg said on Twitter after an online meeting with US President Joe Biden and European leaders, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Scholz said Russia faced "heavy consequences" if it attacked Ukraine. The leaders had agreed "it is up to Russia to undertake visible de-escalation initiatives," Scholz said.
Biden said the western allies were in "total" agreement on how to deal with a Russian military threat to Ukraine.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office also said "the leaders agreed on the importance of international unity in the face of growing Russian hostility."
EU foreign ministers coordinate Ukraine strategy
Earlier on Monday, foreign ministers from the European Union's 27 member states met in Brussels in a bid to hammer out a response to a feared invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
After the meeting, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said there is "unity" among member states on "quick and determined" action from the bloc, should Russia invade.
Borrell added the EU has pledged to support Ukraine in "key areas" including countering cyberattacks and hybrid threats, such as Russian disinformation campaigns.
However, the EU will continue "collective efforts" to convince Russia to take a "path of dialogue" in resolving tensions, he said, adding that the EU is prepared to respond should diplomacy fail.
"We are closely at Ukraine's side, with regards to financial support as well as economic support," Baerbock told journalists, including DW's Brussels Bureau Chief Alexandra von Nahmen.
Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said the bloc was ready to hit Moscow with "never-seen-before" sanctions if Russia attacks Ukraine.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, meanwhile, said Russia intended to hold war games 240 kilometers (150 miles) off his country's southwestern coast. The war games would occur both in international waters but also in Ireland's exclusive economic zone.
"We don't have a power to prevent this happening but certainly I've made it clear to the Russian ambassador in Ireland that it's not welcome," Coveney said.
EU pledges new aid to Ukraine
During the meeting, EU Commission head von der Leyen announced a fresh €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) aid package for Ukraine.
"This package will help Ukraine now to address its financing needs due to the conflict," von der Leyen told reporters in Brussels. She urged the European Parliament to approve the aid "as soon as possible."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked von der Leyen for the "timely" decision.
"Strong Ukraine is key for European security," Zelenskyy tweeted. The Ukrainian president also expressed gratitude to European Council President Charles Michel in a phone call.
The amassing of more than 100,000 Russian troops near the Ukrainian border has raised Western fears that Moscow may be planning to invade its neighbor, though Russia has denied such intentions.