Josep Borrell: Russia is violating fundamental principles in Ukraine, as it has already done in Georgia

Russia is threatening Ukraine and putting into question Europe’s security architecture, EU High Representative for Security and Foreign Policy Joseph Borrell writes.

"Russia has addressed to the United States and NATO proposals on the future of security in Europe that contravene the principles of the European security architecture. They are accompanied by a military build-up on the border of Ukraine and the open threat by Russia of taking military actions if these demands are not met. Two things are clear: we have to come to a united EU position and we have to substantiate our role, backing it up with concrete action tracks, i.e. not just on what we think or want but on what we intend to do," Borrell writes.

According to Borrell, working with the US and NATO, the EU must now define what it can do to uphold the security order of Europe and the principles underpinning it - which are clearly under threat today. As Borrell writes, this issue is on top of the agenda of the meeting of EU Foreign and Defence Ministers in Brest this week.

"The ambition of the Russian authorities is to challenge the political and security order born after the Cold War. Moscow wants to go back on the NATO-Russia founding act of 1997, which accompanied NATO’s enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe; the Paris Charter of 1990, which codified the principles for European security after the end of the Cold War.

There are three principles that Russia has previously accepted and that it now puts into question. The first is the right of each state to freely choose to belong, or not to belong, to an international organisation and to be a party to treaties or alliances, as recognised by the Paris Charter. By challenging this fundamental principle, Moscow is acting as a revisionist power. In Russia’s eyes, this prohibition would not only apply to countries of the former Soviet Union but also to EU member states like Sweden or Finland.

The second and the third are the non-use of force and the respect for the territorial integrity of all states. Russia is violating these three fundamental principles in Ukraine, as it has already done in Georgia," Borrell wrote.

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