DM Panagiotopoulos: Ukraine War prompts need for a meaningful European strategic autonomy

Nikos Panagiotopoulos Ukraine

Russia's attack on Ukraine gives rise to an urgent need for the global community to assume its responsibilities, Greek National Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said at an extraordinary meeting of EU defense ministers held online on Monday.

This happens, he explained, "because the crisis in Ukraine tests the limits of International Law, the validity of - and the respect for treaties, but also challenges the very right of states to live freely."

Developments in Ukraine also give rise to a need for a meaningful European strategic autonomy, he said.

After outlining all the actions Greece has taken to support Ukraine so far during this military conflict, including sending defense equipment and calling for the stopping of all Russian army operations in the country, Panagiotopoulos referred to the upcoming approval of the EU's Strategic Compass initiative in early March.

"In a few days," he noted, "it will be approved, which marks a high level of ambition for our security and defense agenda." The Greek minister added that "it will be called upon to prove its value in practice."

"It is a matter of supporting the defense and security of our citizens, our states and our Union," he stressed, which "requires determination and collective action," he continued.

But if we are to create the right framework to forge our defenses, and to actively respond to threats against our own countries' defense and security, then it is worth it," Panagitopoulos concluded.

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Meanwhile, the military attacks clearly violate the fundamental principles of International Law and of the UN Charter, noted Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias in his video message to the High-Level Segment of the 49th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting, held in Geneva on Monday.

"In particular," he added, these attacks "violate the principle of refraining from the threat or use of force, a principle which is blatantly and shamelessly disregarded from specific countries for some time now."

"Unilateral actions affect not only countries, but first and foremost people," he highlighted.

Referring to "the most serious challenge facing the European continent in Ukraine," he pointed out that current events have "plunged Europe into an era where such actions have no place."

He underlined that international humanitarian law is being seriously challenged, adding that attacks on all civilians in Ukraine must stop immediately.

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