EU accused of failing to address Russian ‘aggression’ as Ukraine invasion looms

Russia: Reaction 'stronger than Putin expected' says Ricketts

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Ryszard Czarnecki, a Polish MEP and a member of the Law and Justice, also urged NATO to station more troops in his country and elsewhere in eastern Europe as tensions continue to rise over a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. Mr Czarnceki was speaking as speculation mounts that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is poised to green-light military action, with more than 100,000 troops plus tanks and other materiel close to the Ukrainian border.

With Prime Minister Boris Johnson today saying he was considering doubling the number of British troops deployed to strengthen Europe’s borders, Mr Czarnecki told “Poland supports strong and effective EU policy against Russian aggression in Eastern Europe.

“Unfortunately, the EU policy towards Russia is focused mostly on the economic aspects and disregards the security aspects, which include both military and energy issues.”

He added: “Poland is a Member of NATO and as such considers itself protected. An attack on the Ukraine, however, would require a stronger NATO presence at the Eastern Flank.

“We would request the stationing of more troops in Poland and other Central European countries.”

Warsaw – let by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki – has not been without its own difficulties when it comes to the European Union in recent months, with the European Commission earlier sending Poland notice to pay €70 million in fines for failing to reverse an illegal disciplinary regime for judges.

The case is one of many disputes between the EU and Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which came to power in 2015 and has since faced accusations of eroding democratic freedoms.

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Last October the top EU court fined Warsaw for failing to immediately halt the work of the Polish Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Chamber pending a final verdict on the scheme.

Poland has said it will not pay the fine and has criticised the Commission’s actions.

Mr Czarnecki said: “Poland has brought a case against the EU at the European Court of Justice and we expect that the Commission waits for the legal review before taking any further action.

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“To my mind, the latest Commission decision is unacceptable and will need to be changed once the European Court of Justice will have ruled in our favour.”

Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss admitted the Government believed it was Mr Putin was probably planning an invasion.

She said: “We think it’s highly likely that he is looking to invade Ukraine.

“That is why we’re doing all we can through deterrence and diplomacy to urge him to desist.

“That’s why we are strengthening our sanctions regime here in the United Kingdom.

Ms Truss added: “We’re going to be introducing new legislation so that we can hit targets including those who are key to the Kremlin’s continuation and the continuation of the Russian regime.

“We’re also supplying and offering extra support into our Baltic allies across the Black Sea, as well as supplying the Ukrainians with defensive weapons.

“And the United Kingdom is the largest contributor to Nato in Europe.

“And we are the largest European Nato supporter of troops and defences in Europe.”

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