Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel, German MEP (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance), Vice-Chair of the Eu-Ukraine Delegation to the European Parliament

Russia is using the classic intimidation tactic here, which was also frequently used by the Soviet Union. This tactic is relatively “low-cost” and aims to test the West. We already had a similar situation in April 2021, when Russia mobilized as many as 120,000 soldiers near the Ukrainian border and at the same time significantly increased the number of weapons and other military equipment in the occupied part of Donbas. This time, however, the situation is even more complex, as the Belarusian dimension is added and Russian control there increases. One consideration, therefore, is that Russia could be betting that some kind of “wear and tear” will occur as a result of the frequent military deployments, thus decreasing attention in the West to such maneuvers and theoretically allowing the Kremlin to continue occupying Ukraine with minimal international outcry and consequences.

At this stage, developments on Ukraine’s eastern border should be closely monitored and the potentially serious threat should not be ignored. Transatlantic coordination is of utmost importance. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, EU Council President Charles Michel and the heads of state and government must make personal representations to Putin and make it clear that such games are dangerous and extremely counterproductive. Cacophony within the EU institutions should be avoided at all costs. Meanwhile, the EU should use all diplomatic means, such as summoning the Russian ambassador or, if necessary, announcing tighter sanctions against Russia.

An integration of Ukraine into the transatlantic security structures is considered by Ukraine itself to be the only true solution, but here various questions remain open within NATO, so that this solution is certainly not practicable.