Eight members of the European Parliament, led by the EU’s Foreign Affairs Committee and the Security and Defence Subcommittee, will carry out a fact-finding mission in Ukraine today, amid rising tensions with Russia.
As Russia has amassed 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, diplomatic talks between the US-NATO and Russia have effectively sidelined the EU. There is also a lack of cohesion among EU member states on a unified response to Russian aggression. France initially called for an EU security plan prior to triggering NATO involvement, while Germany has refused to export arms to Ukraine.
Although the US, NATO and Russia are the most powerful and influential players involved in efforts to de-escalate current tensions, the EU’s fact-finding mission may provide member states with more information to develop a unified, effective response to Russian aggression. However, as the current tensions are security-centered, Russia likely will not perceive the EU as a threat, given the EU’s hard power reliance on NATO.
Yet, in the short- to medium-term, expect the EU’s threat of unprecedented economic sanctions to likely target Russia’s energy, banking and defense sectors to establish credible deterrence, as Russia understands that an EU security action plan is unlikely.
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Alex is an Analyst focusing on political events in the post-Soviet space. With a background in international law and diplomacy, his expertise lies in the geopolitical, economic and energy security dynamics of the South Caucasus.