The European Union is both concerned and cautious about events in Russia following the rebellion of the Wagner paramilitary group against the Russian military command and the government of Vladimir Putin and calls for coordination with international allies when it does respond. Brussels is “closely monitoring” the situation and is consulting both with the capitals of the Twenty-seven, many of which have also indicated that they are “monitoring” the situation for the moment, and with the international partners of the G7, who have already held this Saturday a telematic meeting at the level of foreign ministers. NATO is also “following the situation”, as is Washington, according to official spokesmen. Two categorical messages arrive from the European institutions: one, that what is happening is “clearly an internal Russian matter”, declared both the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the spokesmen of the European Commission and the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola . And two, they all unanimously reaffirmed their “unwavering support” for Ukraine as well.
Both Brussels and various European capitals, from Berlin to Paris or Rome, have indicated that for the moment they are “closely following events in Russia”. Contacts between the Twenty-seven are constant, various sources confirm. A Polish government spokesman announced that Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has already spoken by telephone with Michel, who is holding consultations with various countries. For his part, the High Representative for foreign policy, Josep Borrell, reported that this Saturday he had a telephone conversation with the G7 foreign ministers to “exchange points of view on the situation in Russia”. At the EU level, Borrell has also activated the Twenty-seven crisis response centre. Several capitals have also activated their crisis teams, including Berlin. For his part, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas announced that border security had been “strengthened”.
Although “the situation is serious”, as Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, underlined in a tweet, there are currently no plans to physically hold an emergency meeting at the European. However, foreign ministers are summoned to Luxembourg this Monday and the heads of state and government of the Twenty-seven will meet at the weekend in Brussels for the last Swedish-led European Council before Spain assumes the presidency of the EU in July.
dialogue between allies
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According to the White House, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, would have been informed of the situation since Friday afternoon, when the first information on the matter began to emerge. Biden plans to spend this weekend at Camp David, Maryland. “We are monitoring the situation closely and will consult with allies and partners about these events,” said White House National Security Council spokesman Adam Hodge succinctly. NATO is also “monitoring the situation” in Russia, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told Reuters bluntly.
In statements to the BBC, the British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, avoided answering a question whether what is happening is a “coup” against Putin and limited himself to asking “all responsible parties and protect civilians”. However, for the British Ministry of Defence, “what happened represents the biggest challenge against the Russian state in recent times”. “In the coming hours, the loyalty of the Russian security forces, and especially the Russian National Guard, will be crucial in determining the evolution of this crisis,” he added in a statement. The UK government’s crisis cabinet, COBRA (Cabinte Office Briefing Rooms, in its English meaning), which brings together ministerial departments of state and security and intelligence services, met on Saturday to carry out direct monitoring of the situation in Russia.
Even the Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, was preparing to convene a meeting of the ministers responsible for intelligence to monitor the “chaos” that the situation is causing in Russia. The crisis team that meets at the Farnesina under the direction of the Secretary of State, Andreas Michaelis, was also convened in Berlin, a spokesman for this department assures EL PAÍS.
Attention for European citizens in Russia
Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said there was currently no concern for Italians living in Russia, but explained they were “advised to be cautious”.
The German Foreign Ministry has already tightened its warnings about travel to Russia. The updated text on his site now recommends, “due to current events”, to avoid the administrative regions bordering Ukraine “and especially the city of Rostov and its surroundings”. “In Moscow, government structures, especially military ones, should be avoided as much as possible. The city center should be avoided until further notice,” continues the recommendation offered by the German Foreign Ministry, which also advises always following the instructions of the Russian security authorities.
The Czech Republic, which is also monitoring the situation closely, issued a similar travel warning through a statement by Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky: “Regarding the ongoing military invasion of Ukraine and the possible threat of erosion Data the security situation in the country, especially for citizens of EU and NATO countries, our strong warning against travel to the Russian Federation remains in place,” he said.
The British Foreign Office has also warned travelers that the instability triggered by Wagner’s uprising on Friday could spread throughout the country.
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