DThe European Union condemned the pirate attack on Ukraine on Friday and called a special session of its Political and Security Committee. It was about how Ukraine could receive technical assistance to increase its resilience, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in Brest. A rapid unit was also mobilized to counter cyberattacks. The Spaniard said one could guess who was behind but had no proof. NATO also pledged Kyiv’s support. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that an agreement on increased cyber cooperation would be reached “in the next few days”.
At an informal meeting in Brest on Friday, EU foreign ministers discussed the situation at Ukraine’s borders and how to deal with Russia; there had already been a joint meeting with EU defense ministers on Thursday. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) said it would take a lot of perseverance and patience because “there have been no real talks” with Moscow for “years”. “We are doing everything so that there is no more escalation.” You have to use the different channels, which is why she will meet her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday.
On Monday, Baerbock will travel to Kyiv with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and also visit the line of contact with separatists in eastern Ukraine. Le Drian reaffirmed in Brest that any military aggression against Ukraine would have “serious consequences”. Addressing the Russian government, he said: “We won’t accept any ultimatums.” Borrell welcomed the close coordination with NATO and the United States this week after complaining repeatedly last week that the EU was not in talks with Moscow. There have been more than a hundred contacts at all levels between Brussels and Washington, cooperation is “better than ever”.
Ministers also discussed the situation in Mali, where the Russian mercenary Wagner troop is now clearly operating. In this case, Paris and Berlin had threatened to cancel the EU training mission there. Le Drian said on Friday: “We will stay in Mali, but not at any cost.” The situation there will soon be discussed with the sixty partners who are involved in Mali.