By Mylin Batipps
European Union leaders said that Russia’s increase in number of troops on Ukrainian soil is threatening the entire continent and may eventually lead to war, according to CNN.
In a summit in Brussels last week, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the Union will impose new sanctions on Russia as a consequence for the country’s presence of over 15,000 troops on Ukraine’s land. Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, however, said Ukraine is looking for the support of the EU to unleash full-out war against Russia.
“I think we are very close to the point of no return,” Poroshenko said, according to CNN. “The point of no return is full-scale war, which already happened in the territory controlled by separatists and where — instead of separatists — there are regular Russian troops.”
This month, pro-Russian separatists have been surrounding government forces in Eastern Ukraine as part of a counteroffensive, The Moscow Times reported. Russian paratroopers claimed to have wandered near the Eastern border unintentionally before being captured by Ukrainian forces.
Not only are thousands of Russian troops in Ukrainian territory, but hundreds of tanks are accompanying those troops, according to Newsweek. Ukrainian troops said Russian tanks in Ukraine have “flattened” an eastern Ukrainian town, causing the destruction of homes in the area.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, claimed the country has not been deploying troops into Ukraine and that they are not trying to cause any problems. It is only trying to better train its forces, he said.
“We are strengthening our nuclear deterrence forces and our armed forces … I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations. This is a reality, not just words.”
Previous sanctions imposed on Russia include denying the country access to both the oil sector and the EU’s capital markets for Russian banks. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said at the summit that Russia has performed acts of “direct aggression” that would result in much more than additional sanctions.
“It is the fact that Russia is in a war state against Ukraine,” Grybauskaite said, according to Newsweek. “That means it is in a state of war against a country which would like to be closely integrated with the EU. Practically, Russia is in a state of war against Europe.”