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Westerners won’t have to ‘die for Donbass’ – EU’s Borrell

The bloc’s top diplomat has argued that members shouldn’t scare people by exaggerating the threat of direct conflict with Russia

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has insisted that Ukraine’s Western backers will not be sending troops to “die for Donbass,” and they should not needlessly frighten their citizens by hyping the prospect of a direct conflict with Russia.

“I have heard some voices saying ‘war is imminent’,” Borrell told reporters on Thursday before attending the European Council summit in Brussels. “Well, thank God, war is not imminent. We live in peace. We support Ukraine. We are not part of this war; we just support Ukraine.”

The summit is focused largely on efforts to ramp up European support for Kiev amid struggles by US President Joe Biden to secure congressional approval for additional Ukraine aid. Borrell said the aid push is not a question of sending US or European troops to “die for Donbass.” Rather, the aim is to help Ukrainians, so they will not be killed fighting in Donbass.

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The EU’s top diplomat made his comments amid escalating rhetoric from European leaders suggesting that more aid should be given to Ukraine because NATO members will be threatened by potential Russian attacks if Kiev is defeated. French President Emmanuel Macron went so far last month as to argue that Kiev’s backers cannot rule out sending troops to Ukraine. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen claimed on Wednesday that Moscow’s ambition “does not end in Ukraine.”

Borrell pushed back against such statements on Thursday, saying that “the call for Europeans to be aware of the challenges we are facing is good, but we do not have to exaggerate, either. And we have to prepare for the future, increase our defense capabilities, augmenting the defense capacities of our industry.”

The diplomat has proposed tapping income generated by Russia’s frozen central bank reserves – estimated at €3 billion ($3.25 billion) annually – to help fund Ukraine aid. He suggested using 90% of the revenue to buy weapons for Kiev and earmarking the remaining 10% to help build up Ukraine’s defense industry. Moscow warned that the scheme amounts to theft and would undermine Western currencies, the global financial system, and the world economy.


READ MORE: EU’s Borrell warns of Ukraine funding vacuum if US stops spending

As Russian forces have made battlefield gains in Donbass in recent months, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned on Tuesday that Ukraine’s very survival will be at risk if the West fails to provide more weaponry to Kiev.

 

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