EU and Russia should rebuild relations – Brussels
Agreeing on security guarantees will be a ‘difficult and lengthy process’, says EU diplomat
Rebuilding the relationship between the EU and Russia will be a “very difficult and lengthy process,” but it must be done, chief EU diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his blog on Tuesday.
Until Brussels is able to “reorganize” that relationship “and agree on security guarantees and mechanisms to allow for peaceful coexistence to take hold again,” it will back Ukraine in the fight against Russia, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy continued.
Borrell then issued a precondition to such reorganization, declaring that “Russian leadership must first understand that its own security cannot and will not be attained at the expense of broader European security and that of its neighbors.” Peace in Europe can only exist if Russia is “respectful of national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he wrote, glossing over NATO’s own eastward expansion in violation of an agreement not to further approach Russia’s borders following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Insisting that the EU, US, and NATO had “replied carefully to Russian proposed treaties and letters,” Borrell argued that Europe had always been “ready to discuss all aspects of security.” However, months of dialogue between the two sides failed to produce an agreement, with the US and its European allies unwilling to promise to exclude Ukraine from NATO prospects or provide other security guarantees with regard to stationing missiles in eastern Europe.
Borrell claimed that the EU is fighting the good fight to “counter [the] false narratives” he believes are behind Russian support for the war, blaming Moscow for “launch[ing] an international disinformation offensive,” implying backing for the campaign at home would evaporate if Russians could just read European media.
However, the EU last month issued an order to search engines and social media platforms to cease displaying Russian media or even discussions of its contents across Europe, ensuring only viewpoints authorized in Brussels would be accessible by European internet users.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.