The EU foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting today in New York.
EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell called the gathering, in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to mobilize 300,000 reservists. Although no official numbers are available, many thousands of Russian men have been spotted by neighboring countries attempting to flee their own. The EU’s current visa restrictions, implemented in response to the Russian invasion, mean that few have entered the bloc.
The Union is divided on how to tackle the issue. The Baltic states and Poland have taken a hard line, highlighting that these Russians did not protest the killing of Ukrainians, and that admitting them poses a security risk. Germany, however, has suggested that it would be willing to take in fleeing Russians, stating that anyone who opposes Putin’s regime can file for asylum on grounds of political persecution.
The meeting is likely to see these divisions continue, with former Eastern European bloc members, as well as Ukraine itself, likely to criticize Germany’s stance, and France potentially supporting it. However, given that the European Commission has thus far expressed reluctance to directly involve itself in the issue, a bloc-wide decision is unlikely to arise.
Laurence is an Analyst and weekly contributor to The Daily Brief, he focuses on geopolitical and economic issues occuring in Europe and Eurasia.