The EU Keeps Putin Guessing on ‘Consequences’ for a Ukraine Invasion

The EU Keeps Putin Guessing on ‘Consequences’ for a Ukraine Invasion
A group photo of the leaders of EU member states and the Eastern Partnership countries at a summit in Brussels, Dec. 15, 2021 (AP photo by Olivier Matthys).

The European Union’s 27 national leaders are meeting in Brussels for a European Council summit to discuss a coordinated response to Russia’s provocations along its border with Ukraine as well as the new omicron variant of the coronavirus rapidly spreading across Europe. But it appears that internal divisions could hamper both efforts.

Ahead of the summit yesterday, the EU leaders met with their five counterparts from the Eastern Partnership countries—Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan—in a show of solidarity with Kyiv. Speaking after the meeting last night, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said there was a “shared concern about Russia’s build-up at the Ukraine border.”

But just how unified the EU 27 are on the issue was an open question in the runup to the summit. In recent days, Germany’s new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has called for “dialogue” with Moscow, while Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi cast doubt on whether Putin really intends to invade Ukraine, as most Western intelligence services appear to believe. It’s a far cry from the dramatic comments made by Russia’s EU neighbors as they entered today’s summit, with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda calling the border standoff the “most dangerous situation of the last 30 years,” arguing that Russia threatens not only Ukraine, but also NATO’s eastern flank.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review