Russian proposals on European security are “unacceptable” to the European Union, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said on Thursday.
“These demands are unacceptable, and Europeans cannot accept this attitude either,” Josep Borrell told reporters of Russia's two proposals for European security arrangements delivered to the US and NATO last month.
Borrell was speaking at a joint news conference with French Defense Minister Florence Parly, following an informal meeting of the bloc’s defense ministers in Brest, France, which began on Thursday morning.
The French government is hosting the two-day informal meeting of EU defense and foreign ministers after assuming the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Russia has made “very concrete demands that deserve a very concrete” response, Borrell said.
He explained that Russia’s claim to halt the Euro-Atlantic integration process for Ukraine and Georgia is unacceptable to the EU since it limits sovereign countries' right to choose which international organizations they wish to join.
He revealed that during the meeting, EU ministers discussed the launch of an EU training mission for high-ranking military officials in Ukraine as a form of support for the country.
The ministers also began work on the bloc’s first strategy on space security, which is expected to be adopted next year since, as Borrell noted, “the outer space will be the new battlefield.”
The situation in Mali, which has been aggravated by the arrival of the Russian mercenary company Wagner Group, is also on the agenda.
Borrell admitted that the "events we are witnessing is a big incentive” for the bloc’s defense strategy, the so-called Strategic Compass, which is expected to be adopted in March.
He said they are working to amend his draft upon the suggestions of the member states, but stressed that there is a consensus on the document and one of the most important proposals – a swiftly deployable EU force of 5,000 troops – will remain in the strategy.