Abandoning Ukraine to its fate “would be a historic mistake and hypocrisy”, says EU ambassador

The Russian invasion of Ukraine represents a “challenge to the international order”, considered the ambassador of the European Union (EU) in Argentina, Amador Sanchez Ricoin an interview with Télam in which defended the military and humanitarian support that the bloc has given to kyivbecause abandoning him to his fate “would be a great historical error and hypocrisy.”

The diplomat also said that the war in Ukraine strengthened the bloc, which this Monday celebrates the europe day for the anniversary of Schumann Declarationwhich is considered the birth of what the EU is today and which will be commemorated in Buenos Aires with a series of activities during May, including a charity race for peace, a performance of the opera El Cónsul at the Colón on Tuesday and a meeting of European cinema from May 16.

– On May 9, in addition, Russia celebrates Victory Day and this week it denied that it is going to take advantage of the date to formally declare war on Ukraine, as reported in the media, do you think that day there may be some event linked to the war conflict?

I think we have all read in the media that Russia may announce something. What we are going to do is celebrate Europe Day, the 72nd anniversary of the Schuman Declaration. And vindicate the values ​​of the EU higher and stronger than ever, which are the values ​​of democracy, freedom, peace and respect for human rights, which is exactly what President (Russian, Vladimir) Putin he denies his population and what he fears from Ukraine, the democracy and freedom to which Ukrainians aspire.

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-One of the measures that the EU is taking against Putin is the application of sanctions, a new package is now being analyzed that includes the ban on oil imports, how do you think this issue can evolve, in which there does not seem to be total agreement in the block?

Sanctions are not the solution, it is not the panacea. Sanctions is resorting to a coercive instrument that we have at our disposal to try to alter the behavior, in this case, of an autocratic president who has decided to invade a neighboring country, which he himself considers a brother, in a totally unjustified invasion and not provoked by Ukraine, a sovereign and democratic country.

We have five packages of sanctions and at the beginning there were many doubts that the EU was going to be able to unanimously approve the first package and the second was approved and the third was approved. Why? Because there is no precedent. They are unprecedented in their depth, in their scale of application. We are now discussing the sixth package of sanctions that goes against oil.

We will see what the decision is, but there is no doubt that the EU is responding very forcefully and with great unity in the adoption of these sanctions and in the supply of humanitarian material and material so that Ukraine can defend itself. It is also the first time that the European institutions have granted 1,500 million euros in support with war material so that Ukraine can defend itself.

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– The fact that the EU in general and some countries in particular are supplying weapons has also been questioned by many as a way of sustaining the conflict. what do you think about that

What alternative do we have? Leaving a sovereign, democratic country to its fate, whose citizens aspire to be able to choose their future and not be decided by the president of a neighboring autocratic country and member of the Security Council and second or third nuclear power, because we believe that it would be a great historical mistake not to support Ukraine in this cause. But also to say very clearly that we are not at war with Russia and that the sanctions do not persecute or want to punish the Russians either. And it would also be a great hypocrisy to abandon Ukraine to its fate.

-You spoke of nuclear power, do you think it is possible that this could represent some danger for the EU?

Nobody here is safe. And because we are here at 14,000 kilometers, there is no one who is safe. Here we are not just talking about something between Russia and Ukraine. This is a real challenge to the rules-based international order, which has existed since World War II with the United Nations at its apex. And this should concern us all. For this reason, either we declare ourselves clearly in favor of an international order based on rules, respecting the most fundamental principles of international law, such as non-interference or the non-use of weapons to resolve conflicts and, above all, the principle of territorial integrity , or we turn a blind eye and that means supporting the law of the jungle or the law of the strongest. And before this we have no doubt on which side to be. It is no longer so much on the side of the US or the side of the EU, or the side of Russia, but on the side of the rules-based international order.

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-This week Time magazine published an interview with former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who said that for him the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenski, is as responsible for the conflict as Putin, what is his opinion?

I am not going to assess what former President Lula may say. The only thing I can say is that up until 24 February various EU leaders convincingly demonstrated their good faith and that there was a great desire for dialogue and on that day we saw the true face of President Putin and his absolute unwillingness to engage in any kind of of dialogue. And instead of that, he launched into this totally unjustified war and these barbarities that we are all seeing, that we are observing with the utmost concern, sadness and disbelief that we are in the 21st century going backwards in our history.

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