Ukraine has the right and freedom to choose its unions and partnerships, and no one will be deciding things related to Ukraine without Ukraine, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell has said.
He stated this in an interview with the Polish Press Agency (PAP) before his three-day visit to Kyiv, Ukrinform reports.
Borrell noted that the purpose of his visit to Kyiv was to focus on the political and security situation in Ukraine in light of the tensions caused by Russia's actions.
"I want to convey a message of strong European support and also stress that any provocation or aggression [by Russia] against Ukraine will have serious consequences. I also want to stress that Ukraine, like any other country in the world, is entitled to, and free to, choose its political or security alliances and partnerships. No one will be deciding things related to Ukraine without Ukraine," Borrell said.
He stressed that any further Russian aggression against Ukraine will have "concrete and serious consequences."
"We continue to be in close coordination and consultations with our transatlantic and like-minded partners in this regard. In a broader context, this situation poses a threat to the stability and security not only of Ukraine but also of the region. We are focusing now our efforts on defusing the tensions and preventing things from deteriorating. But if Russia decides to commit further violations or aggression against Ukraine, we stand ready to react decisively," Borrell said.
He stressed that Ukraine is one of the EU's closest neighbors and its strategic partner. Therefore, the security of Ukraine and the region cannot be discussed without all the important actors at the negotiating table. Therefore, the EU cannot be a neutral spectator in these negotiations if Russia really wants to discuss Europe's security architecture, he said.
Borrell noted that the EU is in regular contact with its Ukrainian counterparts.
"Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected and upheld. That is why I am going to Ukraine now - on my first visit in 2022," Borrell said.
On January 4-6, Borrell will pay a third visit to Ukraine at the invitation of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. Both parties will discuss the issues of deterring Russia from further aggression, including through harsh economic sanctions, and promoting a peaceful settlement based on respect for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.