BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders will meet to discuss the buildup of troops by Russia on the Ukrainian border on Thursday at 1130 GMT, EU officials said, not in reaction to any particular developments but to exchange views and update each other.
The ad-hoc meeting will be held just before the start of a long-planned EU-Africa summit. There will be no formal conclusions.
“The leaders are meeting in Brussels for the Africa summit and they wanted to meet and discuss the crisis on the Ukrainian border, get updated, exchange information and views,” one of the EU officials said.
NATO accused Russia on Wednesday of sending more troops to a massive military build-up around Ukraine, even as Moscow said that it was withdrawing forces and was open to diplomacy.
Separately, a senior Western intelligence official warned that Russian military exercises were at their peak stage and the risk of Russian aggression against Ukraine would remain high for the rest of February.
“The meeting is not because of any particular development, but it would have been hard to imagine that EU leaders would be for two days in Brussels and not discuss the issue that has been in the global spotlight for weeks,” the official said.
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski)