Josep Borrell
Josep Borrell called the world beyond the EU a "jungle". Image Credit: AFP

Luxembourg: EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell raised eyebrows over a string of less than diplomatic comments he has made on sensitive topics.

The Spanish official made drastic statements on a range of issues: from Russia's nuclear threat, to scolding his own diplomats.

UAE reacts

Last week Borrell ditched the usually cautious language Western diplomats adopt on the subject to warn that Russia's army would be "annihilated" if Moscow used a nuclear weapon in Ukraine.

He also called the world beyond the EU a "jungle".  And in a broadside against his own diplomatic corps, he upbraided the EU's representatives around the world for being too slow and ineffective.

"I am very OK, why not?" Borrell, 75, said, when asked about the statements at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

"Every week is very tense, so from time to time something erupts to the public opinion."

Asked about the criticism over the comments, a spokeswoman for the European Commission said the executive's chief Ursula von der Leyen still "has confidence" in Borrell.

The blunt-speaking Spaniard - who has served as his country's foreign minister - has pushed for a more assertive EU that can flex its muscles on the international stage.

But he has also been known for his occasional gaffes.