“Very important developments” will take place in Ukraine during the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
“They are related to what will happen on the battlefield, and with more or less shady negotiations that may be to try to stop the war”,
– he said in an interview with TVE.
Borrell did not comment on the possibility of official peace talks. “Honestly, I don’t know, it depends on what happens in the next days,” he said. The head of European diplomacy drew attention to the fact that the number of peace initiatives is growing.
“Representatives of the African Union are going to Moscow and Kyiv. There are also voices in Latin America calling for an end to the conflict,” Borrell said.
At the same time, in his opinion, the Russian leadership has a “clear readiness” to continue the conflict until Moscow’s goals are achieved.
Spain took over the Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 July, for a period of six months. Then such a right will pass to Belgium.
First of all, a visit to Kyiv
On the first day of the presidency, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrived in Kyiv and met with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Already in Kyiv. I would like the first event of the Spanish Presidency of the EU Council to take place in Ukraine,” Sanchez said.
The politician stressed that Spain will support Kyiv until “until peace returns to Europe.” Sanchez also pointed out that “no one more than Ukraine deserves” the status of a candidate country for EU accession, but “it is not an easy process, especially in the context of the ongoing war.”
Spain, like other Western partners of Ukraine, provides Kyiv with military and financial assistance. In mid-June, she announced the shipment to Ukraine of four Leopard 2A4 tanks “which were under repair,” a Role 2 plus field hospital, and 20 armored personnel carriers.
The decisive six months
What exactly Borrell was talking about when he predicted “very important events” is still unknown. European leaders did not specify what the head of the foreign service had in mind. At the same time, the Ukrainian president assumes that during this period, Kyiv will be able to make progress on the path to joining the EU.
“It is with a visit to Ukraine that Madrid begins its six months of chairmanship,” Zelensky wrote on his Telegram channel. According to him, for Kyiv, these “six months are decisive” regarding the start of negotiations on joining the European Union.
“We have the support of Spain in this [issue],” he added.
It was stated in Madrid that the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine is one of the main goals for the presidency.
At the same time, Borrell’s forecast may also apply to the course of hostilities. The Ukrainian authorities launched a counteroffensive in June, which was announced in the spring. The President of Ukraine has said that his country wants to “show results” on the battlefield before the NATO summit in Lithuania on July 11, but “every kilometer is worth a life.”
Zelensky noted that Kyiv is “very cautious” in terms of organizing offensive operations.
“Fast is not always safe,” said the President. – If they tell me that [the offensive] will be two months, and thousands of people will die, or if it will be three months, and fewer people will die. Of course, I will choose the second.
“I would even say that [it would be better] four or five months and no losses. Between time and people, the most important thing is people,” Zelensky added.
At the end of May and in June, Borrell stated that he looked at the situation in Ukraine “without optimism”. He expressed the opinion that negotiations between Moscow and Kiev are unlikely to begin before the US presidential election in 2024. The politician also noted that Russia would not agree to peace talks until it won.