mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
No Off Ramps
EU in Knots as Ukrainian Separatists Attack

With Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists on the offensive ever since Ukrainian security forces gave up the symbolically important Donetsk airport late last week, Western leaders are scrambling to figure out how to apply additional pressure on the Kremlin. An attack on the strategically significant city of Mariupol on Saturday that left some 30 people dead and many more injured has startled a European policy elite that just ten days ago was debating lifting sanctions on Russia.

Speaking from India on Sunday, President Obama strongly condemned the attack and signaled that he was ready to impose the next round of sanctions on Moscow. But as the FT reports, it’s not clear that Europe is ready to follow suit:

According to EU diplomats, capitals were divided over whether to pursue more sanctions. Federica Mogherini, the high representative, has called an emergency meeting of foreign ministers for Thursday.

Some diplomats had balked at the idea of convening an earlier meeting for fear it would result in little more than a further condemnation of the Mariupol attack. “To call it just to adopt another statement makes no sense,” said a Polish diplomat.

European leaders have been here before: squabbling over next steps but ultimately reaching a consensus for getting tougher when faced with yet more proof that the Kremlin is not interested in the off-ramps they have offered. But with a showdown with the Greeks looming, and with the new EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini more dovish on Russia than her predecessor, consensus may be even harder to come by than usual.

Features Icon
show comments
  • S.C. Schwarz

    Putin needs to sieze a land corridor from the part of Ukraine he already holds to Crimea. Without a land connection Crimea would be indefensible if some future EU, or U.S.,ever found its courage. Correctly judging that the EU and the U.S. will bleat, but do nothing effective to stop him, he uses now to do it. As the west has already written off Ukraine this is not terribly significant. What will be significant will be when he moves on his next victim, probably one of the Baltics.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service