Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj sees Russia as a threat to Europe. If Brussels does not show a clear stance towards Moscow, there could be parallels with the Crimean crisis.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj has described Russia as a threat to the entire European continent.
‘If Brussels does not show iron support for the European aspirations of our three countries (Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova), then someone will show the iron muscles of their weapons at our three national borders,’ he said in the Black Sea metropolis of Batumi in the South Caucasian republic of Georgia.
Zelenskyi had previously visited the demarcation line to Abkhazia in Georgia. Russia recognized the region as well as South Ossetia as independent states after a brief war with Georgia against international protests and stationed thousands of soldiers there. Under international law, the areas belong to Georgia.
In his speech, Selenskyj drew a comparison between the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia, the embattled eastern Ukrainian Donbass and breakaway areas in Moldova and Georgia. With the territorial disputes, the Kremlin wanted to prevent the three ex-Soviet republics from joining the EU and NATO. ‘The extent to which the loss of territory remains temporary depends to a large extent on you,’ he said to Charles Michel, President of the EU Council, who was present in the room.
Ukrainian government troops have been fighting against Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since 2014. According to UN estimates, more than 13,000 people have been killed. Moldova and Georgia have been grappling with similar conflicts with Russian participation since the 1990s. Kiev, Tbilisi and Chisinau want to join forces to accelerate EU accession.