Russian forces took control of the Sloviansk airfield in Ukraine this weekend.
— Ukrainian Updates (@Ukroblogger) April 14, 2014
Germany warned of war in Europe on Monday, with vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel stating the continent was being “dragged” into a “smouldering conflict” with Russia over Ukraine.
Gabriel – at an event commemorating World War I with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls – warned of resurgent nationalist forces both within Europe and “in its neighbourhood”.
He said that good news several months ago from Ukraine – including an end to bloody violence against protesters – had since given way to “an ongoing military confrontation” and the realization that “Russia is apparently willing to let tanks cross European borders.”
“Suddenly, we are being dragged from the observer’s position into a long smouldering and incendiary conflict, which is also demanding a price from Europe in the form of sanctions against Russia,” he said.
Foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, meanwhile, called the danger of Europe splitting a “real one”.
Responsible foreign policy has to make sure that this is prevented,” he told Swiss newspaper the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.
“Whether this is achieved depends not only on us but also on what Russia has planned. Moscow needs to show whether it is ready to leave the route it put itself on by annexing Crimea,” Steinmeier added.
He told the paper that he believed Russia was testing the West through it’s handling of Crimea. “It cannot be, seven decades after the end of the second world war and 25 years after the end of the cold war, that we start changing borders based on ethic, linguistic or religious factors.“