UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will urge European leaders to work together to defend their borders against irregular migration on Thursday, as he joins some 50 other counterparts at a summit just 21km from the Ukrainian border.

Sunak will travel to Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, for the second meeting of the European Political Communitywhich will be dominated by discussion of the security threat posed by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Before his trip, Sunak said he would make sure “the fight against illegal migration is firmly on the international agenda” as he hopes to stem the flow of migrants across Europe.

“Europe faces unprecedented threats at our borders, from Putin’s utter disregard for other countries’ sovereignty to the rise of organized immigration crime,” he said, adding that only “continental governments and institutions working closely together ” can address them.

The 47-country EPC is the brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, bringing together EU member states and other countries, including the UK, Turkey and Ukraine, to discuss multiple security issues in a less formal setting than the EU. or NATO.

For Sunak, the EPC is a means to re-engage with the EU after bitter disputes over Brexit; it is also an opportunity to link international engagement with his promise to “stop the boats” carrying migrants across the English Channel.

Sunak will announce in Chisinau the start of talks on a new return agreement with Moldova and a new partnership with Bulgaria to undermine the business model of human traffickers.

Meanwhile, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev described Britain as an “eternal enemy” on Wednesday after Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said Kiev had the right to attack military targets in Russia for reasons of self-defense.

Asked during a news conference in Estonia on Tuesday about drone attacks on a Moscow residential neighborhood for which Kiev has not claimed responsibility, Cleverly declined to comment.

However, he said Ukraine had “the right to project force beyond its borders to undermine Russia’s ability to project force into Ukraine itself”, noting that attacking “military targets beyond its own border” was “internationally recognized as legitimate as part of the law of a nation.” self defense”.

In response, Medvedev, now vice president of Russia’s security council, wrote in Twitter that Britain was leading “an undeclared war against Russia” and suggested that any British official who aided the Kiev war effort could be seen as a legitimate military target.

Michael Clarke, a visiting professor of war studies at King’s College London, said that although Cleverly appeared to have been caught off guard, he “had the correct wording” in emphasizing that the only legitimate Russian targets were military targets, which would not include the residential area. outskirts of Moscow.

Clarke added that while Medvedev was “not a credible person these days”, his rhetoric highlighted a widespread sentiment in Russia that “you can get to the West by insulting the British, without fear of retaliation, which you can’t do to Washington.” . ”.

James Nixey, director of the Russia-Eurasia program at Chatham House, a think tank, said Cleverly’s intervention reflected how much closer the UK’s position on Moscow was to the Baltic and Nordic nations than to France and Germany, that ” they have always sought to be more accommodating towards Russia.”

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