U.S. and EU Establish "Transatlantic Coordination" Against Russia

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: January 16, 2022; 18:09 ♦ (Vindobona)

Europe and the U.S. are closing ranks in the face of feared Russian aggression against Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and EU High Representative Josep Borrell are determined to "form a strong, clear and united transatlantic front," European Union External Action announced after a phone call between the two. According to the statement, they expressed their commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

Dialogue yes, but no threat of moving borders with tanks and missiles. Ukraine's sovereignty is not negotiable under any circumstances, says Austrian Foreign Minister. (Picture: The T-84 is the Ukrainian main battle tank.) / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / 7th Army Training Command from Grafenwoehr, Germany, Public Domain

The close coordination between the European Union and the United States on recent developments related to Russia and Ukraine continues. 

After the informal discussions of the Foreign and Defense Ministers of the EU Member States this week in Brest (France), Blinken and Borrell discussed ongoing preparations for deterrence and a robust international response with strong consequences for Russia in the event of further aggression against Ukraine, the statement continued.

Washington and Brussels, it said, are open to dialogue with Russia, "but never at the expense of freedom, sovereignty, independence of members of transatlantic community and their partners or at the expense of the respect of fundamental values and relevant international obligations."

Thus, Borrell and Blinken had also rejected the Russian initiative "to rebuild spheres of influence in Europe."

The Foreign Ministers of EU Member States agreed on Friday in Brest to further strengthen coordination with the United States, with NATO and to enhance European Union cooperation within the OSCE and tasked Vice President of the European Commission Josep Borrell to coordinate these activities.

As for Austria's role", Foreign Minister Schallenberg said at the meeting in France, "in view of its own history, Austria can never accept attempts in Europe to move borders by force of arms.  When it comes to Europe's security, we have to talk to Europeans, not about Europeans." The essential vehicle for this, however, is the OSCE, he said.

Russia had previously rejected as "baseless" U.S. accusations that suspected Russian agents were planning a special operation in eastern Ukraine.

As is so often the case, the Russian Embassy in Washington said, the U.S. was spreading alleged sensational news without any basis for it.

In the conflict between Russia and the West, the U.S. government is meanwhile exploring contingency plans for gas supplies to Europe with energy companies, according to insiders.

European Union External Action