The situation in Ukraine is on a tightrope, with Russia sending troops, calling it a “peacekeeping force”, to the pro-Russian separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Diplomatic efforts continue, but time is running out and there are already many concerns over a clash that could occur on European soil.
Greece and Cyprus
“Russia’s recognition of the illegal and unilateral ‘independence’ declaration of the separatist territories of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine is a clear violation of fundamental principles of international law, the territorial integrity of Ukraine and of the Minsk agreements,” states the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an announcement regarding the latest developments in the region.
At the same time, it is noted that Greece has repeatedly stressed that it is in favor of respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of all states and denounces any decision that contradicts these fundamental principles of international law.
On the part of the Republic of Cyprus, the support of Cyprus for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine was reiterated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Kasoulides, during the discussion on the security situation in Eastern Europe and Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine, in the framework of the EU Foreign Affairs Council which was held on Monday in Brussels.
The National Security Council has already met in the United States under US President Joe Biden. Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin, the Head of diplomacy, Anthony Blinken, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Miley, and CIA Director, William Burns, arrived in the West Wing of the White House shortly after President Putin announced that a decision over Donbas was about to be made.
Then, US President Joe Biden signed a presidential executive order prohibiting any trade and investment of any natural or legal person of his country in the two self-proclaimed People’s Republics of eastern Ukraine, which were officially recognized by Russia on Monday. Furthermore, the order prohibits any “new investment” in Lugansk and Donetsk by US legal entities and individuals, wherever they are located, as well as any “imports into the United States, directly or indirectly, of goods, services or technology” from both regions.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky has issued an emergency address to the nation denouncing Ukraine’s violation of “national sovereignty and territorial integrity” following the recognition of the two self-proclaimed democracies that are under the control of the separatists pointing out that his country and he himself are not afraid.
In addition, Kyiv has called for an urgent convening of the UN Security Council, while the National Security Council is currently meeting in Ukraine under Volodymyr Zelensky.
Russia has said that it is “ready” to hold talks with US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, who is expected to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Geneva on Thursday, following the recognition of the self-proclaimed republics.
The Russian ministry, meanwhile, said that Moscow must first ratify the friendship agreements with Donetsk and Lugansk before discussing issues such as the exact borders of the regions.
The UN Security Council, mainly at the request of its western member-states, convened an urgent public meeting after the recognition of the independence of the pro-Russian territories of Ukraine by Russia, diplomats informed. The request, based on a letter from Ukraine to the Organization, was submitted by the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, and Albania, and was also endorsed by Mexico, according to the same diplomatic sources. Russia, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council in February and therefore sets the agenda, wanted the meeting to be held behind closed doors, but was opposed by the United States, according to diplomats.
The United Nations, through its spokesman Stefan Duzaric, has called on “all parties concerned to refrain from any unilateral decision or action that could affect Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”
The National Security Council is also being convened in France by a decision of Emmanuel Macron, while the German side condemns Putin’s moves, with German Chancellor Olaf Solz to have conveyed by telephone with the Russian president that the recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk is in violation with the Minsk agreements.
The Committee of Ambassadors of the Member-States of COREPER II is currently holding an extraordinary meeting to discuss the imposition of sanctions on Russia, according to a statement by the French Presidency of the EU Council.
The French presidency posted on Twitter that the discussion is expected to end the stage of preparation of targeted sanctions. The debate is expected to continue in the General Affairs Council, which will follow shortly.
With information from: AMNA, CNN Greece, euronews.com
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