Wednesday, March 22

The Foreign Minister on his trip to Kiev: “It is time for diplomacy, not hypotheses”

The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, stated this Wednesday that it is time for diplomacy and dialogue to resolve the crisis around Ukraine and not to open scenarios and hypotheses about a possible Russian attack against the neighboring country.

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“The situation is already tense enough to introduce more tension or create a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy,” he said after meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmitro Kuleba.

“I believe that all efforts, and my visit today is part of it, have to be to channel de-escalation and de-escalation through dialogue so that Ukraine can live in peace with respect to its borders and guaranteeing its sovereignty” .

For Albares, there is no reason to believe otherwise despite the presence of more than 100,000 Russian soldiers deployed on the border with Ukraine and that has raised all the alarms in the West.

“I don’t see why that wouldn’t be possible. No one on this side of Europe is preparing for a war. And so we don’t have to give the impression that that’s an inevitable scenario, because it isn’t. And today it is.” that is being privileged is the diplomatic route”, he stressed.

Albares has admitted that the tension of these days around Ukraine occupies and has occupied a good part of the conversation with Kuleba, to whom he has reiterated Spain’s support for the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Spanish minister, when asked if this support from Spain can be translated into concrete steps such as sending defense systems to Ukraine as other European countries have done, replied that the position of Spain and that of the European Union (EU) is clear: “We work for a scenario in which any difference that may exist is resolved through dialogue”.

“A dialogue that gives way to relaxation and for that a de-escalation is necessary at this time,” he stressed. “That is the path we have chosen. We believe that this is the time for diplomacy, not to open scenarios and hypotheses that are not there,” she said. The minister has made a floral offering in front of a monument in honor of the Ukrainian soldiers who died in the war that broke out in 2014.

Sanctions on Russia

The minister acknowledged that Spain is “obviously concerned” about the deployment of Russian troops near the borders with Ukraine, “but is convinced that this situation must be addressed and can be redirected through dialogue”.

“And of course there is also a deterrence scenario in which very clearly the EU and Spain (…) have adopted a package of economic measures that will be massive” for Russia in the event of an attack or an invasion and that would be adopted in accordance with quickly, Albares underlined.

“This is part of a scenario that we do not want, that is not inevitable, but for which we are also prepared in a united way,” he added.

These are sanctions that are dissuasive and not preventive, he specified, because “our objective, and we believe that it is a feasible objective, is to find solutions that allow us to protect the security of all European states, safeguarding the principles on which the international law: sovereignty, territorial integrity of states and the prohibition of the use or threat of use of force”.

Albares has emphasized that now is the time for diplomacy and dialogue, “and we believe that all the conditions exist for this to be the way to redirect this crisis.”

He recalled that all channels of dialogue and diplomacy are currently open, both bilateral, in the Russia-NATO Council, with the EU and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). “That is the track that we have to privilege”, she has emphasized.

Kuleba appreciates the Spanish support

For his part, Kuleba joined the words of the Spanish minister, stating that “right now there are all the possibilities of overcoming this crisis through diplomatic channels” and thanked Spain for the support given in the face of the threat of Russian aggression .

“I am extremely grateful to Jose Manuel for his extremely positive response to my call for a visit to Kiev as a sign of support for the Ukrainian people against the background of Russia’s aggressive actions,” Kuleba told a joint press conference.

Kuleba pointed out that in the meeting with Albares both devoted “special attention to the security situation, first of all, on the borders between Ukraine and Russia, and Ukraine and Belarus.”

The security situation in eastern Ukraine was also addressed, as well as in the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014. In this regard, the head of Ukrainian diplomacy thanked Albares for Spain’s support for “the sanctions against Russia for the occupation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine”, referring to the documents adopted together with the United States from 2014.

“The situation remains tense but controlled. Diplomacy continues to work to reduce tension and this meeting is an example of it,” Kuleba said about the current tension with Russia.

Kuleba stressed that “it is important to keep in mind that this is not just a threat to Ukraine, it is a threat to the whole world.” According to the diplomat, the current crisis is due to Moscow’s intention to “take revenge for having lost the USSR in the Cold War.”

“How the entire European community will overcome this crisis will depend on the future of Europe and of each of the European countries,” he added. However, he agreed with his Spanish colleague that currently “there are all possibilities of overcoming this crisis through diplomatic means”.