Friday, March 31

EU advises non-essential staff to leave Ukraine amid US warnings of imminent Russian attack

The US is convinced that the attack is imminent. And, faced with this possibility, the EU has decided to allow its “non-essential” personnel to leave Ukraine. “Non-essential personnel have been given the opportunity to leave the country,” explain community sources after the conversation between the presidents of the European institutions and some continental leaders with the president of the United States, Joe Biden: “We continue to evaluate the situation as which is developed in accordance with the responsibility we have for our staff and, in close consultation and coordination with the EU Member States”.

“We are not evacuating,” the sources insist, “what we do is give the opportunity to telework from outside the country.” Norway, the Netherlands and the UK are also advising their citizens to do so. And the United States, for its part, has asked Americans to leave the country. “It’s time to leave,” says Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, who has announced that all Americans must leave in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Sullivan explained that the US has information that “a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine could begin during the Winter Olympics despite speculation that it could only happen after.” An idea that the US president, Joe Biden, has transferred to his European counterparts.

One possible option, according to Sullivan, is “a quick assault on the city of Kiev.” Moscow, in any case, has always ruled out the possibility of an invasion of Ukraine, while asking for guarantees that NATO does not continue its expansion to the East, something it has been doing since 1997.

Thus, Sullivan has acknowledged that they have no information that Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a final decision on the invasion of Ukraine.

All these movements come after a conversation between Joe Biden, the presidents of the European Council, Charles Michel; of the European Commission; Ursula von der Leyen, as well as the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz; French President Emmanuel Macron; British Prime Minister Boris Johnson; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; the Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi; as well as the president of the country that presides over the OSCE, the Pole, Andrzej Duda; and the Romanian, Klaus Iohannis.

In addition, NATO ambassadors have called a rare meeting this Friday night to address the situation.

During the conversation with Biden “to take stock of the evolution of the crisis caused by Russia’s aggressive behavior towards Ukraine, and to discuss ongoing efforts to ensure a united and effective response”, according to spokesmen for the European Commission, “the leaders evaluated diplomatic efforts to convince Russia to deescalate the crisis and choose the path of dialogue”.

The Community Executive has reported the “rapid progress made in the final adoption of the 1.2 billion support package in the form of emergency financial aid for Ukraine”.

“President von der Leyen described the status of sectoral and individual sanctions in the event of a new Russian military aggression against Ukraine and reaffirmed that all options were on the table and that the sanctions would affect the financial and energy sectors, as well as to exports of high-tech products”, explains the European Commission: “At the same time, preparatory work has continued, in particular in the area of ​​energy, to guarantee additional supplies of natural gas in the event of interruptions in supply due to part of Russia”.

According to a NATO statement, Secretary General Stoltenberg “warned that the risk of conflict in Europe is real and welcomed the recent additional deployments of NATO members in the eastern part of the Alliance.”

NATO defense ministers will meet next week to address the crisis.

The Pentagon will send another 3,000 combat troops to Poland to join the 1,700 already massing there, the US reported.

The announcement came shortly after Sullivan issued a public warning to all US citizens in Ukraine to leave the country as soon as possible and said that Putin could give the order to launch an invasion of Ukraine at any time.

Biden and Macron will hold separate phone calls with Putin this Saturday.

Borrell’s “Disrespectful Answer”

This Thursday, both the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, and the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, sent letters in response to those sent by the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, on January 28 in those raised by the Kremlin’s concerns about security in Europe, such as NATO’s expansion to the East, an issue already discussed by Russia with the US and NATO.

According to a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry, containing a statement by spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, “There is no substantive response in the documents received, but a dialogue on strengthening security is invited.”

“Let us remember that Lavrov’s message was addressed to the foreign ministers of 37 European and North American states,” says the Russian spokeswoman: “And he singularly underlined that we expected a detailed response at the national level. Instead, they write to us Stoltenberg and Borrell, to whom we were not addressing. Such a thing cannot be described in any other way than as a manifestation of lack of diplomatic courtesy and respect. The documents of the OSCE and the Russia-NATO Council, which contain the principle of indivisibility of the security, bear the signatures of the heads of state and government of the respective countries States participate in the OSCE in their national capacity, and it is in this capacity that they have pledged not to enhance their security at the expense of the security of others “.

“Therefore”, continues the Russian Foreign Ministry, “we cannot accept a collective response, we expect a detailed response to our questions from each addressee. Dodging the response means that the West does not want to recognize the commitments made through the OSCE and the Russia-NATO Council, and which is trying to seek its security at our expense. NATO and the EU insist on their leading role in ensuring security in the Euro-Atlantic area. Such an approach is categorically unacceptable to us.”