Russia war fears explode as EU chief warns of imminent attack from Putin

Liz Truss warns G7 will not tolerate Russian invasion of Ukraine

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He warned the EU should be considering a variety of potential red lines that could trigger “high impact” sanctions and other “severe consequences” from the bloc and its partners, including the UK. As well as conventional conflict, “hybrid war” techniques can include other tactics, such as information campaigns and attacks on important computer systems. The EU High Representative stressed Russian military intervention is just one option – and perhaps not the most likely one.

This comes ahead of the Eastern Partnership Summit, taking place in Brussels this Wednesday.

The Summit will see the leaders of Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan meet. Discussions are likely to be dominated by the build-up of Russian military on the border with Ukraine.

EU leaders are also meeting on Wednesday and Thursday for their traditional end-of-the-year summit in Brussels.

The leaders are set to provide guidance on the draft Strategic Compass, which sets out to provide a common strategic vision for EU security and defence.

They are also expected to discuss the preparations for the joint declaration on EU-NATO cooperation, as well as COVID-19, energy prices and the migrant crisis in Belarus.

European Council President Charles Michel has shown solidarity with the Belarusian opposition party, by hosting a meeting of democratic and opposition figures last night.

Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is in Brussels today.

NATO strategists are currently unsure whether or not Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko would support an invasion of Ukraine.

However, their involvement would be significant. If Belarus offered itself up as a starting point for Russian attacks, it would make it strategically easier for the Kremlin to encircle Kiev.

Speaking at a meeting of G7 leaders in Liverpool last weekend, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that an invasion of Ukraine would be “a strategic mistake” with “severe consequences” for Moscow.

The United States and other NATO members have previously said they will impose strict sanctions on Russia if Moscow launched an invasion.

Following US concerns around Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, from Russia to Germany, Ms Truss said she wanted to work to “make sure that free democratic nations are able to have an alternative to Russian gas supplies.”

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She added: “There have been decisions made by the free world… in the short term to obtain cheap energy or cheap financing, and that has a long-term cost for freedom and democracy.

“And we can’t make that mistake again.”

Mr Putin spoke with US President Joe Biden last week, with the intention of reducing tensions in the region.

According to Russian media, Mr Putin said that he had no particular grounds for optimism but added that he would like to meet with him in person.

Ukrainian authorities have warned Moscow could be planning a military offensive at the end of January, although US officials say it is not yet clear whether Mr Putin has made a decision.

Mr Biden said he had made it clear to Mr Putin that there would be “economic consequences like none he’s ever seen” if he invaded Ukraine.

The G7 echoed this on Sunday, warning: “Russia should be in no doubt that further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe cost in response.”

The group called on Russia to “de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities.”

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