Europeans must be willing to ‘pay’ to support Ukraine – top EU diplomat

Arming Ukraine and keeping Europe united comes at a cost, which Brussels needs to explain to citizens, Josep Borrell said

Helping Ukraine in its fight against Russia comes at a price for Europe, which citizens should be willing to pay, the EU’s foreign policy chief has said. A Russian victory would be Europe’s loss, Josep Borrell believes.

“We must explain to our citizens that this is not someone else’s war,” the diplomat said in an interview published by newspaper El Pais on Thursday. “The public must be willing to pay the price of supporting Ukraine and for preserving the unity of the EU. 

“We are at war. These things are not free,” he added, acknowledging that the cost should be distributed “equitably.”

Borrell was referring to surging inflation and potential power shortages faced by European nations after deciding to punish Russia for attacking Ukraine by refusing to buy its energy. Brussels wants member states to cut consumption to be better prepared for peak demand this winter, but some countries have resisted the proposal.

Spain, Borrell’s home country, was among the dissenting voices. Energy Minister Teresa Ribera said last month that “imposing unfair sacrifices” was not the best way to deal with the crisis. She argued that, unlike people in some other nations, “Spaniards have not lived beyond our means from an energy point of view.”

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Europeans “cannot show a lack of solidarity” with such squabbles, Borrell said in the interview. He admonished Madrid for not appreciating “what this war represents to countries closest to it,” like Poland. Spain may benefit from the EU’s decoupling from Russia in the long run by becoming a major hub for supply of liquified natural gas to Europe, he added.

Borrell warned that Europe should be prepared for the conflict in Ukraine to continue for a long time. Commenting on European goals in the conflict, he said that “if Russia wins this war and occupies part of the Ukrainian territory, then we Europeans will have lost and will face a much greater threat.”

The Ukrainian government says it will only talk to Russia after pushing its military to where it was before 2014, which would include capturing Crimea. Borrell said Western nations have a “moral imperative” to back Kiev. He said the US and the EU have been in “absolute cooperation” on the issue, and suggested that this would not have been the case if the conflict started with Donald Trump in power in Washington.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

Five killed in Kashmir shootout – officials

A militant attack on an Indian army outpost comes ahead of Independence Day festivities

A militant attack in a disputed region of Kashmir has killed three Indian soldiers and wounded two others, local officials claimed on Thursday. Two suspected attackers also died in the skirmish with government forces.

According to Mukesh Singh, Additional Director General of Police, at least two assailants armed with guns and grenades, attacked a military outpost in the Rajouri district in southern Kashmir. The shootout lasted for at least three hours, the official said.

Two militants trying to sneak into a post in the dark at Pargal [army camp] in Rajouri were detected. They were engaged by alert troops,” Singh said.

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The official added that the two wounded Indian soldiers are undergoing treatment.

According to an unnamed army official cited by Reuters, the area around the post was closed off while security forces conducted a search.

The assault comes several days before festivities for India’s Independence Day on August 15. It also occurred close to the third anniversary of the revocation of Kashmir’s constitutional autonomy.

Many Kashmiris believe that the loss of special status violates the rights of the Muslim majority. Constitutional autonomy was revoked from the region in 2019, sparking fears of unrest and triggering condemnation from neighboring Pakistan.

The muslim-majority region has been a disputed territory between India and Pakistan for over 60 years, with some separatists pushing for total independence and others seeking to move away from India and instead join with Pakistan. The area is split into two districts – the India controlled Kashmir Valley and the Hindu-dominated region around the city of Jammu, while Pakistan holds a sliver of land in the West.

The territorial dispute has resulted in multiple armed conflicts between the two nations since they gained independence from the British Empire.