Europe’s foreign ministers are due to meet on the sidelines of the UN general assembly on Wednesday to discuss renewed support for Ukraine following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to partially mobilize some 300,000 of the reservist’s troops for his war effort. .
The urgent meeting also aims to address Russia’s intention to annex parts of southern Ukraine it captured early in the conflict through hastily organized referendums while fighting is ongoing.
“Ministers need to address this threat, reiterate their continued support for Ukraine and alert the international community to the unacceptable situation Putin is putting us all in,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters.
He added that the ministers will discuss an eighth package of sanctions on Russia, as well as additional support for the war effort.
“It is clear that Russia wants to destroy Ukraine,” Borrell said. “We will not be intimidated.”
The meeting comes a day after Putin announced a partial deployment of 300,000 reservist troops to bolster his forces in Ukraine, which has suffered a string of defeats and loss of territory in recent weeks.
Putin also appeared to raise the prospect of using nuclear weapons in response to his failures in Ukraine.
“Russia will use all instruments at its disposal to combat a threat against its territorial integrity – this is no bluff,” Putin said in a national speech.
Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu told Reuters on Wednesday that Putin’s latest comments were a “game-changing moment” that must be met with new sanctions and increased arms supplies to Ukraine. .
“We must also declare a commitment to legal responsibility. The Kremlin fuhrers must not take it for granted that their responsibility for the genocidal war must be taken sparingly,” she added.
Putin was besieged by a wave of condemnation from world leaders throughout the day at the UN general assembly. Earlier in the day, US President Joe Biden criticized Russia’s “brutal and unnecessary war” in Ukraine and accused Moscow of threatening nuclear war.
“Once again, just today, President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe in a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the non-proliferation regime,” Biden said. “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”