EU foreign ministers have agreed to allocate an additional €500 million from the European Peace Facility for arms supplies to Ukraine. This will bring the total amount of the EU military support to Ukraine to €2 billion. At the same time, however, ministers failed to agree on a sixth package of sanctions against Russia and an oil ban, EU High Representative Josep Borrell reported last night.
The EU High Representative was speaking after the EU Foreign Affairs Council that was joined by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, and Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly.
Borrell noted that the €2 billion in military support was “just the tip of the iceberg”, because Member States “do a lot from their side without asking for refunding”.
Borrell also said the EU has to help Ukraine to keep producing and exporting grains and wheat via the already established initiative ‘Solidarity Lanes’. “The storage capacity of Ukraine is full, because they cannot export this grain and they need to empty this storage capacity in order to be able to receive the next crop. So, we are working on how to help them to take this grain out by train,” added Borrell.
Regarding sanctions, he said: “We will continue imposing sanctions on Russia to make the cost of invasion unbearable for the Kremlin. We continue discussing. Unhappily today, it has not been possible to reach an agreement to finalise the 6th sanctions package. The issue will go back to the COREPER and [EU] Ambassadors will continue discussing. We are with the same difficulties about unanimity on the oil ban.”
EU ministers also met over lunch with the six foreign ministers of the Western Balkan countries to discuss their path to the European Union. “Ministers expressed their clear expectation towards the partners as future Member States, to commit to European values and to the European foreign policy. Those who have not yet done so – and Serbia is one of them – should, as soon as they can, step up their alignment and implement sanctions [against Russia],” Borrell said, adding the European Union’s partner countries could not remain neutral in the current situation: “To maintain close ties with [Vladimir] Putin’s regime is no longer compatible with building a common future with the European Union. Both things at the same time are not compatible. Being neutral today, with respect to the Ukrainian war, is a false concept.” He also said that the EU intends to support its “partners in order to mitigate the effects of this upcoming crisis”.
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