The EU has gone from being a “constructive economic platform” to becoming an “aggressive and bellicose” actor amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.
That was the claim of Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday.
It came before the EU’s foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, announced the bloc was giving Ukraine another €500 million to buy heavy weapons to fend off Moscow’s invasion.
“We will provide a new tranche of 500 more million to support the military of Ukraine,” Borrell told reporters ahead of the G7 meeting in Weissenhaus, on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast.
The funds would be allocated for the purchase of heavy weapons and take the EU’s total financial support for Ukraine to €2 billion, he added.
Lavrov, speaking before Borrell’s announcement, said: “The EU has evolved from a constructive economic platform, as it was created, to an aggressive and belligerent player which already displays its ambitions far beyond the European continent.”
As such, Lavrov added that “Kyiv’s desire to become a member of the European Union is not insignificant”.
More broadly, he accused the Europeans of rushing “exactly on the path that NATO has already traced, thus confirming the trend towards fusion with the north Atlantic alliance and will, in fact, serve as an appendage” to NATO.
Moscow considers NATO an existential threat and has partly justified its war in Ukraine by pointing to the alliance’s expansion eastwards.
On Thursday, Finland’s leaders called for the country to join NATO “without delay”; Sweden could do the same in the coming days.
Russia is also stepping up its verbal attacks on the EU, which has imposed unprecedented sanctions on Moscow following the invasion on 24 February.