In kyiv, Josep Borrell tries to reassure the country of the EU’s long-term support

In kyiv, Josep Borrell tries to reassure the country of the EU’s long-term support

2023-10-02 09:43:29
Josep Borrell, during a press conference, in kyiv, October 1, 2023. VIACHESLAV RATYNSKYI / REUTERS

Will this be enough to reassure Volodymyr Zelensky after a weekend of bad news for Ukraine? On Monday October 2, European Union (EU) foreign ministers were due to meet in kyiv for a show of support for the country at war. This is the first time that such a meeting has been organized outside the borders of the Union. “A strong sign of European commitment and support for Ukraine”assures Josep Borrell, the head of European diplomacy, who went there on Saturday.

While Russian strikes continue to impact the daily lives of Ukrainians, Kiev learned of the suspension of American aid of 6 billion dollars (5.66 billion euros) by the United States Congress on Saturday. The same day, pro-Russian populist Robert Fico won the Slovak election after promising to oppose any further military aid to Ukraine. This news is alarming as the question of “fatigue” among European states regarding their support for Ukraine is being raised more and more openly.

Sunday evening, in front of the press, Mr. Borrell wanted to play down the drama. “The vote in the United States surprised us, he assured. I regret it, but I don’t think it’s permanent. President Biden called on Congress to find a solution. » At the same time, Lloyd Austin, the American secretary of defense, telephoned his Ukrainian counterpart, Rustem Umerov, to reassure him about American intentions.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In the United States, aid to Ukraine suffers from an agreement at the last minute in Congress on its financing

Future pro-Russian Slovak government

“We are not weakening in our assistance to Ukraine,” assured M. Borrell. “We have already provided some 85 billion euros since February 2022, more than the United States, including 25 billion for military assistance alone, and we hope to validate two additional commitments by the end of the year : 50 billion euros in financial assistance and 20 billion euros for the purchase and transfer of weapons by 2027, as part of the security guarantees to be provided to the country in the long term”he added.

Read the breakdown: Which countries have helped Ukraine the most financially since the start of the war?

Member States still need to validate it. “If, for macro-financial aid of 50 billion euros, the agreement seems close, for the 20 billion in aid for military purchases, States remain reluctant to commit over four years, underlines a European diplomat. For next year, the Twenty-Seven have, for the moment, agreed to release up to 5 billion. »

By the end of the year, Slovakia should change government and find Robert Fico who recalled, on Sunday, that his country and its inhabitants “have bigger problems than [les relations avec] l’Ukraine ». The EU’s top representative doesn’t want to appear worried: “The Twenty-Seven have demonstrated true unity since the outbreak of the Russian invasion. We have always managed to agree, whether it involves implementing sanctions against Russia or financing the European Peace Facility which has made it possible to subsidize arms transfers. Despite the doubts of a Member State, we have always found solutions. Let’s see what happens! » Since the start of the war, Hungary has slowed down decision-making in favor of Ukraine.

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