EU warns over financial, energy and food crisis in continent
The European Union’s foreign policy chief says the bloc’s members have to brace themselves for a “triple crisis,” which Russia denies having any role in creating, despite the avalanche of Western accusations that have targeted Moscow.
“Financial, Energy, Food [crises] is going to affect all of us. We will need to be prepared to take action to address it,” Josep Borrell tweeted on Sunday.
“We must step up our capacity to address more than one crisis at the time,” he said in another tweet.
The bloc has been trying to wean itself off Russian energy imports as a means of punishing Russia for its ongoing military operation in Ukraine.
Russia, itself, has also sharply reduced its energy exports to Europe in retaliation for the sweeping sanctions that the EU has levied against Moscow since it launched the Ukraine offensive on February 24.
Reacting to Borrell’s tweet, Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, rejected any part by Russia in formation of the multi-pronged crisis.
“The “triple crisis” seems to be man-made to a large extent and the “man” guilty for that isn’t Russia,” the envoy tweeted.
“It’s easy to blame Russia for their own mistakes in the economic field, but this doesn’t help identify real roots of the current problems and find optimal ways to overcome them,” he added.
Moscow has refused to scale down the operation in Ukraine, despite the overwhelming wave of Western sanctions, saying it would keep up its military presence and activities in Ukraine until all of the operation’s goals are met.
In line with what Russian President Vladimir Putin has specified, the operation is aimed at “demilitarization” of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics in eastern Ukraine, which are collectively known as the Donbas region.
The two republics broke away from Ukraine in 2014 after refusing to recognize a Western-backed Ukrainian government that had overthrown a democratically-elected Russia-friendly administration.
Announcing the operation, Putin said the mission was aimed at “defending people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime.”