It is the first time that the European Union has held a summit in a country at war. The president of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyenand the head of the European Council, Charles-Michelheld this Friday in kyiv a high-level meeting with the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky. A meeting whose objective is to stage the political, economic and military support of the EU in the face of Russia’s war of aggression.
“Europe has been by Ukraine’s side since day one. Because we know that the future of our continent is written here. We know that you are fighting for more than yourselves. What is at stake is freedom. This is a fight of democracies against authoritarian regimes“, said Von der Leyen, who has been one day ahead of the summit by traveling to kyiv with a large part of his team of commissioners to hold a government-to-government meeting.
“Putin tries to deny the existence of Ukraine, but what he puts at risk is the future of Russia. Our presence in kyiv today gives a very clear signal: the whole European Union is in it with Ukraine, for the long term. We will defend Ukraine, just as we defend fundamental rights and respect for international law,” the president promised at a joint press conference with Zelensky.
[Ucrania se prepara para la “gran ofensiva” del 24 de febrero: Putin movilizaría a 500.000 soldados]
The Ukrainian president has taken advantage of the visit to ask Von der Leyen to speed up the sanctions against Vladimir Putin. “We are seeing that the pace of Europe’s sanctions has slowed slightly while the terrorist state, on the contrary, is improving its adaptation to the sanctions”, Zelensky has criticized.
Beside him, the president of the Commission has announced a tenth package of sanctions against Moscow which will be approved to coincide with the first anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, but has not given details about its content. He has also said that in the coming days the EU will approve a new cap on Russian oil products, which will be added to the cap on the price of crude oil, which is already in force and costs Moscow “about 160 million a day”.
With @ZelenskyyUa and @vonderleyen we opened joint meeting of @EU_Commission & 🇺🇦 Government. We discussed 🇺🇦’s implementation of the EC’s recommendations & further progress towards 🇪🇺 membership. Grateful to our friends for their visit to Kyiv & their support. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/K3MCptsn8M
— Denys Shmyhal (@Denys_Shmyhal) February 2, 2023
Von der Leyen has also announced the creation in The Hague of a International Center for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression in Ukraine. This Center will coordinate the collection of evidence. A body that will be in charge of coordinating the collection of evidence to guarantee that the Russian president and his environment are held accountable for having unleashed the accession war.
One of the most sensitive issues addressed in kyiv is the progress of the process of accession of Ukraine to the European Union. Zelensky applied to join the club in February 2022 and was granted candidate country status by the Twenty-seven in June of the same year, at unprecedented speed. The Ukrainian government has said in recent days that it expects complete accession in two years, a timeframe that EU leaders consider unrealistic.
“You have to be optimistic and at the same time realistic”, stated Josep Borrell. The head of European diplomacy points out that the entry process depends on reforms that “nobody can skip” and that “will not be tomorrow’s thing.” “Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow we will continue talking about a bloody war in Ukraine”Borrell has pointed out in statements collected by ep.
For his part, Von der Leyen has praised the last Zelensky’s moves to combat corruption within his own government, although in Brussels they point out that Ukraine has a long way to go in this regard. The president wants kyiv to join a series of key European programs now, which in practice will mean accessing “similar benefits” to those of club members.
Your determination to forge ahead on your European path is amazing.
You are taking remarkable steps forward to meet our recommendations, while at the same time fighting an invasion.
We will continue to support your efforts on making further progress. pic.twitter.com/3ulNAuzLCG
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) February 2, 2023
In the announcement chapter, official confirmation is expected this Friday that the EU will increase the capacity of its training mission to Ukrainian troops to train 30,000 soldiers, twice the initial goal. In addition, a game of 25 million will be announced for demining programs on the ground, as well as the formal adoption of the seventh batch of 500 million from the fund that the EU uses to pay for the shipment of arms to Ukraine.
In total, the EU has already earmarked 3.6 billion euros of its budget for arms shipments to Ukraine. If the national contributions of the Member States are added, Total EU military support for Ukraine is estimated at about 12,000 million euros.
As for financial aid, lThe total assistance to Ukraine committed to date at EU and Member State level amounts to almost 50,000 million euros. For the year 2023, a program worth 18,000 euros has been approved, of which 3,000 million have already been disbursed.