Brussels must be involved in Ukraine talks, says EU foreign minister

Brussels must be involved in Ukraine talks, says EU foreign minister
Copyright Afptv
By Meabh McMahon
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US and Russian officials are due to hold security talks in Geneva on Monday amid mounting tensions over Ukraine.

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The EU must be included when it comes to Ukraine security talks, according to the bloc's foreign policy chief.

Speaking from the Ukrainian city of Luhansk — close to the Russian border — European Union high representative Josep Borrell said Europe must be "part of the table" in order to discuss the continent's security.

"On this dialogue there are not two actors alone. It's not just US and Russia. If you want to talk about security in Europe, Europeans have to be part of the table," he said. "And the agenda of the meetings is not just the issues that Russia has put on the table. There are other issues on the agenda, many of them affecting Ukraine."

"Any discussion about Ukraine must involve Ukraine, first of all. And to talk about security in Europe, cannot be done without not only the consultation, but also the participation of the Europeans."

Borrell was visiting Ukraine's frontlines as thousands of Russian troops appear ready to invade Ukraine and also ahead of US-Russia talks on the situation in Geneva on Monday, which the EU has been sidelined from.

Cyrille Bret from the Delors Institute says the visit is important to remind the world that the EU should be part of the solution, but expectations should be low for the talks in Geneva.

"Nothing will arise from those talks. Nothing but heat and cold and then again heat, and a crisis and a renewed cycle of crises and half solutions," Bret said. 

"Those talks are not dedicated to Europe. They are not dedicated to Ukraine. They are dedicated to domestic policy issues for Vladimir Putin to remind the Russian people that Russia is still a great power."

NATO will also host top Russian officials next week in an effort to de-escalate the situation, right after Moscow hosts its own discussions on Thursday with Ukraine, Germany, and France under the so-called Normandy format.

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