Press Releases Russia/Ukraine: Remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell upon arrival at Special European Council

Russia/Ukraine: Remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell upon arrival at Special European Council

It has been a long day. We have started at 4:45 in the morning, with the news that Russia started bombing several cities and several military infrastructures of the Ukrainian army. So, since 5:00 o’clock in the morning we have been reaching out all over the world in order to build a front against Russian aggression on the diplomatic side and to build a big majority at the United Nations General Assembly to condemn Russia.

We know that Russia will veto at the [United Nations] Security Council, but then it will have to be voted at the [United Nations] General Assembly and I have been reaching out to many countries around the world, forging an alliance of people who want to protect the sovereignty of the nations, the freedom of the people and the integrity of the borders inside internationally recognised borders. That has been on the side of the diplomatic outreach. A diplomatic outreach that still constitutes an important tool in facing Russia.

Second, building the sanctions that have been agreed, more or less, by the Council of Permanent Representatives (Coreper), the Member States and that now have to be decided by the leaders. And, tomorrow, they will be formally agreed by the Foreign Affairs Council on my proposal because – as you know – sanctions are something that belongs to the competence of the Council.



Q. How far are you going to go with these new sanctions? Will they include SWIFT as well?

I cannot go into detail. I cannot tell you who’s going to be, who is not going to be. New people will be also from Belarus. There is a complex package with economic sectors, technology, transportation, innovation. More sanctions in the financial sector, more listings of the people. It is a powerful package, but I cannot go sector by sector to explain the details.

Q. Le Président ukrainien vous demande de déconnecter la Russie du SWIFT, est-ce que ce paquet SWIFT est sur la table ?

Ça sera aux chefs d’État et de gouvernement de décider.

Q. Are sanctions saving Ukrainian lives right now?

Certainly not, how do you want sanctions that have still not been approved to have effects? Let us be serious. The sanctions have not been approved yet. How can they be having effects?

Q. I notice that you have your two phones with you. Who have you been calling?

It is a long list. More than 20 countries. The African Union, [countries in] Latin America, in Southeast Asia, India, Japan .. a lot.

Q. Do you think that a diplomatic solution is still possible?

A diplomatic solution for the time being is completely override. Do you see what is happening? A nuclear power, a country who has the nuclear weapons is launching a brutal attack against its neighbour. An unjustified attack and brutal attack to its neighbour, and threatening everybody that could come and help Ukraine, threatening with the use of nuclear weapons. Do you realise how grave this is?

Q. Est-ce que vous creviez une extension de la guerre, comme a dit le Chancelier allemand [Olaf Scholz], a d’autres pays européens ?

With Putin nothing is excluded, but for the time being we have enough work with what is happening in Ukraine. Certainly, we are going to put a strong package on the table, and it is for the Members States, the Heads of State and Government to decide, and for me tomorrow to go to the Council and to make my fellow Ministers [for Foreign Affairs] agree by unanimity. And then, the sanctions will start having effects, once they will be implemented.


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