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Foreign Affairs Council: Press remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell upon arrival

21.03.2022
Brussels

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Good morning,Today is going to be a very long day. We are going to have a joint meeting with the Defence Ministers in order to approve – I hope – the Strategic Compass. Which is not the answer to the Ukrainian war, but it is part of the answer. We have been working on that for two years, and when we started working, we could not imagine that it the last moment of approval, the situation would be so bad, and that Europe was going to face such a big challenge.

This is the moment to rethink the future of European capacities to face challenges like a war. That is why the European Union Member States will have to increase their military capacities. [And to] do it in a coordinated manner. As responsible for the Common Security and Defence Policy, we will be working to make us stronger militarily and use our capacities in a more coordinated way.

We are going to continue providing support to Ukraine – with the second tranche of the European Peace Facility providing more financial support. We are going to have a meeting with the [Deputy Prime Minister] and Foreign Affairs Minister of the [Republic of] Moldova [Nicu Popescu]. Moldova is providing incredible support to the Ukrainian refugees. And then we will have a videoconference with the Defence Minister of Ukraine [Oleksii Reznikov], who will talk about the war situation.

Russia is really committing a lot of war crimes – that is the word, we have to say it. What is happening in Mariupol is a massive war crime. [They are] destroying everything, bombarding and killing everybody in an indiscriminate manner. This is something awful that we have to condemn in the strongest terms. This is a war crime, a massive war crime, what is happening in Mariupol. The city will be completely destroyed, and people are dying. We will continue working and supporting Ukraine, with all of our resources. We will continue talking about what kind of sanctions we can think of again, more - especially related with energy. And we will see from [our discussions with] the Defence Minister of Ukraine, what is the situation there and how we can continue supporting them.

Q&A

Q. You talked about sanctions on energy, does it mean an oil embargo? Secondly, [Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabrielius] Landsbergis said that you have really taken into account war crimes and maybe talk about the interference of military troops. What is your opinion?

The Ministers will discuss about that.

Q. And about the oil sanctions?

The Ministers will discuss about that.

Q. Russia is now using hypersonic weapons, which makes the defense extremely difficult. What does it change now for the situation of the conflict?

Yes, they are. Russia is using all their military capacities. The problem is that [it is] using military capacities against the civilians. It is not a war, it is a massive destruction of the country, without any kind of consideration for the laws of war, because wars have also laws. That is very important to say that, legally, the International Court [of Justice] has already condemned this invasion.

Morally, they have lost any kind of ground, because what they are doing is completely out of any kind of laws that rule the war. It is not a war, it is a destruction of people who are suffering incredibly, and Russia, [the President of Russia, Vladimir] Putin, deserves the strongest condemnation of the civilised world.

Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-221943

Peter Stano
Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0)460 75 45 53
Nabila Massrali
Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0) 2 29 88093
+32 (0) 460 79 52 44