During a meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers the council condemned what they call ‘Russia’s continued aggressive actions and threats against Ukraine’. The Council of the EU calls for Russia to de-escalate the situation and abide by international law.
European Union leaders have shown themselves concerned over recent reports that Russia has yet again increased its number of troops close to the Ukrainian border. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen once again pointed out the EU’s solidarity with Ukraine against Russian aggression in a video statement published on her Twitter account.
Another week, another Russian diplomatic scandal. On Sunday, the Czech Republic expelled 18 Russian diplomats and embassy staff as a result of suspected Russian involvement in a 2014 explosion at an ammunition storage depot in Vrbětice that left two workers dead.
This past week, reports have amassed on Russia increasing its deployment of troops near the Ukrainian border. It is estimated that this constitutes the largest deployment since Russia’s annexation of Crimea, with heavy equipment and artillery being towed from as far as Siberia. According to Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov, the build up is nothing more than an exercise but military experts say the troop movements paint a different picture.
In response to the treatment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny since his return to Russia, EU foreign ministers decided on Monday to impose a new set of sanctions on individuals in the country. The heads of state and government will likely agree in their next European Council meeting, and when they do, at least four more individuals will be hit by asset freezes and entry bans to the EU.