Ukraine Seeks More EU Support as U.S. Sounds Warning on Russia
(Bloomberg) -- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he will discuss “practical steps” of support from the country’s European Union partners given the threat of Russian aggression during a trip to Brussels next week.
Kuleba will meet North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, European commissioners and several EU foreign ministers during the visit, which comes amid heightened tensions over the Kremlin’s troop movements, a migrant crisis on the EU’s eastern border with Belarus and uncertainty over increased Russian gas supplies.
“There is no such thing as a migrant crisis in Belarus,” Kuleba said at a briefing in Kyiv following his return from a visit to the U.S. “There is a hybrid war by Russia against Europe. Russia aims to create problems and then force the international community to include it in solving them.”
The trip comes after U.S. officials briefed EU counterparts on their concerns that Russia was massing forces near the Ukrainian border for a possible military operation. The Kremlin has dismissed the report as an attempt to stoke tensions.
Ukraine, a former Soviet nation of 41 million that borders Russia, Belarus and the EU, has been mired in an armed conflict with Russian-backed separatists in its east since 2014.
A dispute on the border between Poland and Russia’s closest ally, Belarus, has spiraled in recent days, with several thousand migrants stuck on the frontier seeking to enter the EU.
The EU blames the crisis on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and is planning additional sanctions against his regime with the U.S. and U.K. This week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone several times about the migrant situation.
Kuleba said natural gas supplies, migrants, propaganda and military movements were all part of a Russian attack on the Euro-Atlantic area and should be met with “maximum mobilization” of efforts by Ukraine’s partners.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.