Borrell: Events at weekend show Russian state and Putin’s credibility being weakened

The events of this past weekend, involving the aborted armed insurrection by the Wagner group, show that the the Russian State, and Putin’s personal credibility, are being weakened and the political system is showing its cracks, according to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

The situation remains complex and unpredictable, Borrell said, speaking after a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

“It has been unpredictable since the beginning, and it continues to be unpredictable, and we remain vigilant and committed to a strong coordination with our partners – the 27 member states and the  neighbouring countries,” he said.

“These events have shown that the Russian State, and Putin’s personal credibility, are being weakened – this is the least we can say, that the political system is showing cracks. While we were facing Russia as a danger : its power represented a threat and the capacity of invading peaceful neighbours – as it did -, now it becomes a risk because of internal political instabilities and fragilities in a major nuclear power.”

First, Russia was a threat because it was strong and has force, and now it is becoming a risk because it may have entered an era of political instability and internal fragility, Borrell said.

He said that the conclusion of the EU foreign ministers was to continue supporting Ukraine, more than ever, to continue increasing all kinds of support, in particular military support.

“We reaffirmed our commitment to support Ukraine, doubling down on equipment and training, so that everything is done in order to support the counteroffensive that Ukraine is doing.”

Borrell, referring to the decision by the EU foreign ministers to top up the European Peace Facility with 3.5 billion euro, said that this was not just for Ukraine, but would cover all the activities of the facility, including in Africa and the Western Balkans.

He said that already 24 000 Ukrainian military personnel had been trained through the EU Military Assistance Mission for Ukraine and said that it was certain that the target of 30 000 soldiers trained by the end of the year would be reached well before the end of 2023.

The EU would continue providing military assistance, by ramping up its defence industry, through training missions and technological transfers, “but we will be looking for peace, certainly,” Borrell said, adding that the EU foreign ministers had reiterated support for the peace formula promoted by Ukraine and sought the broadest possible support.

“This is going to be a big job, a great job for the [European] External Action Service (EEAS) – and for myself – to reach out around the world [for] support for Ukraine, and support for a fair, just and lasting peace,” Borrell said.

(Archive photo: European Parliament)

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