The head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell said on Monday that he feared a
"de facto integration"
into Russia of regions of Ukraine not controlled by Kiev.
“I am increasingly concerned about the situation in the regions not controlled by Kyiv, as they are moving further and further away from Ukraine and closer and closer to Russia
,” he explained. during a hearing by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.
Read alsoIn the trenches of eastern Ukraine, this Russian offensive that we do not see coming
The Donbass region, in eastern Ukraine, could in particular be gradually integrated
into Russia, explained Josep Borrell to MEPs, gathered in Strasbourg for a plenary session of Parliament. For seven years, this area has been torn by a war between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists, and the political settlement of the conflict, provided for by the Minsk agreements of 2015, is deadlocked.
"Russia's concentration of forces on Ukraine's border is linked to this integration... A massive attack in Ukraine is not the most likely scenario, but there are other ways to attack , such as cyberattacks”
, commented Josep Borrell.
Ukraine was precisely the victim, on the night of Thursday to Friday, of a vast computer hacking targeting the websites of several ministries. Kiev assured on Sunday that it had
of Russia's involvement in this cyberattack.
“We are working on at least seven different scenarios. I don't think we will immediately go to the worst-case scenario, but there are several in which the situation could be dangerous enough to require a permanent state of alert”
, judged Josep Borrell.
The Europeans are still hoping to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to give up an invasion of Ukraine, but they began preparing
sanctions on Friday to
him from doing so , during an informal meeting Thursday and Friday in Brest (western France).
Wishing to affirm their credibility vis-à-vis the American ally, they recalled their warning against the consequences of a new Russian military aggression against Ukraine.
"It will have consequences and a cost through sanctions
," stressed Josep Borrell.
These will be discussed at a meeting of European foreign ministers on January 24 in Brussels, he said.