EU strategy to contain Russia must be holistic – Czech Foreign Minister

Thursday, 30 May 2024

Europe must develop a holistic strategy to contain Russia and put an end to ad hoc approaches.

In an interview with Euractiv, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský called for an end to non-systematic approaches, including at the EU level, and for NATO to develop a comprehensive strategy to contain Russia.

"I would welcome every measure, meaning we can contain Russia. Part of the containment of Russia is also logically and definitely supporting Ukraine’s right to defend itself from Russian aggression," the Czech minister said.

Speaking about the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Prague, which begins on 30 May, Lipavský said that its main goal is to "compare notes" on the upcoming NATO Washington Summit in July, "where the real results should be presented."


With regard to Ukraine, several components are currently being discussed, including the idea of a €100 billion military support fund, the institutionalising of ad hoc coordination platforms, the appointment of a NATO representative in Kyiv, as well as membership and bilateral security arrangements.

The discussion is also likely to focus on Western countries lifting restrictions on the use of Western-made weapons to strike Russian territory.

"We have a variety of opinions in NATO on support for Ukraine," the Minister said, adding that he, as the host of the meeting, was looking for a "common denominator".

Regarding the creation of a €100 billion fund, "we all understand that there are countries which are very sceptical," the minister said.

When asked about his approach and relations with Russia, the Czech Foreign Minister said: "This is a very, very, very complex discussion, and definitely, we are not leading the kind of discussion on the level of the EU or NATO yet."

Asked if he was concerned about Russia’s reaction to NATO’s new interest in increasing lethal military assistance to Ukraine, he said: "It is not NATO that would be escalating [tensions]; it’s Russia that is escalating," adding that it is in Europe's interest to ensure security for Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the three main topics of the Washington summit would be deterrence and defence, support for Ukraine and the Alliance’s global partnership. 

Stoltenberg asked that the allies review the constraints on Ukraine's ban on using Western weaponry against the Russian Federation in the midst of border fighting in Kharkiv Oblast.

In addition, the Secretary General said that NATO as an institution has no plans to send troops to Ukraine.

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