The European Union is absent from the negotiations on Ukraine between the United States and Russia in Geneva. But it is present on the ground.
The High Representative of the EU Josep Borrell visited this Wednesday in eastern Ukraine, Luhansk to assure the country of its support.
At a press conference, alongside the Ukrainian foreign minister, he said that the EU would do everything in its power to help Kiev in the face of Russian aggression, and he did not hide his annoyance with the US-Russian talks.
"Any discussion on Ukraine must involve Ukraine, first of all. And talk about security in Europe, can not be done without consultation but also without the participation of Europeans," said Josep Borrell.
As thousands of Russian soldiers gather on the Ukrainian border, Josep Borrel received a warm welcome from the country's government. This is indeed the first visit of the head of European diplomacy to the Donbass region since 2014.
Observers say the visit is important as a reminder of the EU's place, but they have little hope for the outcome of the negotiations in Geneva.
"Nothing will come of these discussions," says Cyrille Bret, a member of the Jacques Delors Institute. "These discussions are not about Europe; they are not about Ukraine; they are about domestic political issues. They are there for Vladimir Putin to remind the Russian people that Russia is still a great power."
Next week, NATO will host senior Russian officials in an effort to defuse the situation. For its part, Moscow will have discussions this Thursday with Ukraine, Germany and France in the Normandy format.
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