Borrell: Wagner uprising shows war is 'undermining Russia's power'
Last weekend’s Wagner Group mutiny proves that the war in Ukraine is “undermining” Russia’s power, according to Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative of defence and foreign policy. He made the comments on Monday morning, ahead of discussions between EU foreign ministers.
“The Wagner monster” created by Vladimir Putin “is eating its creator”, said Borrell, who is chairing the meeting in Luxembourg. “What happened in Russia this weekend shows that the war against Ukraine is undermining Russia’s power and attacking its political system.”
“Russia is one of the two biggest nuclear powers on the planet. We cannot remain indifferent to what happens there,” Austrian minister Alexander Schallenberg added. Sweden’s Tobias Billstrom said Europe must closely monitor the situation in Russia, “because what happens there will evidently also have an impact on security conditions” in Europe.
Billstrom said it was more important than ever that Ukraine could count on Europe’s support in its fight against Russia.
"Russia is one of the two biggest nuclear powers on the planet. We cannot remain indifferent to what happens there"
Belgium’s Hadja Lahbib is also taking part in the discussions. She is then expected back in Brussels at 17.00 for a debate on the visas granted to Iranian delegates to the Brussels Urban Summit. “We are going to consult via video link with Ukrainian Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba, who should give us more information on the situation on the ground,” she said. “The fighting as part of the counter-offensive is very intense.”
The Wagner uprising may have implications for the war in Ukraine and for Europe but also for Africa, Lahbib said, as Russian paramilitaries are also active there.
EU foreign ministers are discussing the 11th sanctions package against Russia approved last week and will give the go-ahead for an additional 3.5 billion euros for the European Peace Facility. This will be used to supply weapons to Ukraine and support military missions abroad.
Meanwhile, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg told a press conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, that the uprising showed the invasion of Ukraine was a “strategic mistake” by Vladimir Putin.
People visit Moscow’s Zaryadye Park, a short distance from the Kremlin, on 25 June 2023 as Wagner mercenaries were returning to base © NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP