EU-Russian relations at the crossroads
by Dr Andreas Schockenhoff, MdB: Deputy Chair of the CDU/CSU Group in the Bundestag
Also available in Deutsch
Russia’s invasion of Georgia and its recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia mark a watershed in the European Union’s relations with Russia. Those steps are a gross violation of international law and a dereliction of the duty of every country to resolve conflicts by peaceful means. Regardless of Georgia’s share of responsibility for the escalation of the conflict, Russia’s actions are inconsistent with its obligation to preserve the territorial integrity of a neighbouring state. For the first time, Russia has tried to alter existing borders in Europe by force of arms. What is particularly alarming is that the use of military means has become an instrument of Russian neighbourhood policy and that the ‘protection of Russian nationals’ in other countries is being used to legitimise the use of force. Through the expansion of its military presence in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and the conclusion of what it calls ‘treaties of friendship’ with these two republics, Moscow is trying to establish a fait accompli.
Poland, October 21, 2008