Foreign Affairs Council: Press remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell upon arrival

(Source: EEAS)

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  1. German Foreign Minister [Annalena Baerbock] said today that the list would include [Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergei] Lavrov and [President of Russia, Vladimir] Putin.

Who said that?

  1. German Foreign Affairs Minister.

German Foreign Affairs Minister said that? It means that she will be in favour of that.

  1. What have you decided?

The decision is going to be taken by the [Foreign Affairs] Council in some moments. This is a legal act that the [Foreign Affairs] Council will take after a long discussion. Yesterday, the European Union Council discussed about it. And since there was no clear a consensus about it, they charged me and the [Foreign Affairs] Council to look for a solution. And we have been working hard on that. And I hope that we could reach an agreement. And if there are no surprises, if nobody objects, if there is unanimity, then, yes, certainly.

  1. Are you in favour?

I am personally very much in favour. But what matters is not me, but the [Foreign Affairs] Council. And by Council I mean the [Foreign Affairs] Council that I chair. The European Union Council, they discussed and sent the ball to the Ministers to finalise an agreement. And I have been working on that. And I think that if there are no surprises and nobody objects – because we require unanimity – yes, Putin and Lavrov will be on the list.

  1. Is this going to impress them? Would you list?

That is not my problem.

  1. Do you think it will be enough?

No, certainly, it is not enough. We have to continue watching what is happening and we will continue preparing sanctions if needed depending on the Russian behaviour.

Let us be serious. We are facing a full-fledged invasion of a country by another one. It is not a special forces operation, like Russia intends us to believe. It is a fully fledged invasion with bombing, killing of civilians, with confrontations between two armies. This is the worst thing that has happened in Europe – let me say – since the end of the Cold War. And nobody knows what is happening afterwards. Nobody knows which are the real intentions of Putin. Let us concentrate on that problem. The European Union is presenting all its capacities with a strong package of sanctions that for the first time will include – I hope – personalities of these levels level.

  1. [inaudible] to direct Russia with the same weapon to entering Ukraine and to defend the Ukrainian people and to reply to Putin with a military solution?

The European Union is not a military Union. Don’t you know that?

  1. What possibility do you see for negotiations. Zelensky asked Putin to meet.

I have been talking with the Chinese Minister [Wang Yi] this morning. I have been asking him to exercise their influence. I know that President [of Russia, Vladimir] Putin has been talking to President [of China] Xi [Jinping]. I have been asking for the Chinese influence in order to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of every country, including Ukraine. As the Chinese Minister said in Munich the other day, it has been a very constructive conversation with my good friend, the Chinese Minister.

Tonight, there will be a vote in the [United Nations] Security Council about the resolution tabled by France condemning the Russian aggression. It is going to be vetoed by Russia, sure, but then it is going to go to the [United Nations] General Assembly and it is very important what the international community has to say about that. Because it is not just we, Europeans, or the United States, it is the whole world who is being affected by the fact that a powerful country invades militarily a neighbour, who has done nothing against him. This is something extremely grave.

Allow me to stress that, please. Concentrate on the fundamental fact. For peace and security in the world, this is something extremely grave. And Russia’s behaviour is something that will jeopardise the peace, stability and security for us, Europeans, and for the rest of the world. We have to condemn it. And we are going to embark, with my fellow Ministers [for Foreign Affairs], on a diplomatic outreach to everybody in the world in order to build a majority of people voting in the [United Nations] General Assembly against Russia, to condemn Russia.

If the United Nations does not condemn what Russia is doing, then it is the law of the jungle. It is the law of the stronger. One that is mighty then invades the others using brutal force. If the United Nations does not condemn the Russian behaviour, then it is the whole international system that is being put in question. That is the real problem.

Thank you.

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