Tag Archives: Ukraine

EU rejects Donbass referenda

Brussels 30.09.2022 “We firmly reject and unequivocally condemn the illegal annexation by Russia of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. By wilfully undermining the rules-based international order and blatantly violating the fundamental rights of Ukraine to independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, core principles as enshrined in the UN Charter and international law, Russia is putting global security at risk” reads the Statement by the Members of the European Council.

“We do not and will never recognise the illegal ‘referenda’ that Russia has engineered as a pretext for this further violation of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, nor their falsified and illegal results. We will never recognise this illegal annexation. These decisions are null and void and cannot produce any legal effect whatsoever. Crimea, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk are Ukraine. We call on all States and international organisations to unequivocally reject this illegal annexation.

“In the face of Russia’s war of aggression as well as Moscow’s latest escalation, the European Union stands resolutely with Ukraine and its people. We are unwavering in our support to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Ukraine is exercising its legitimate right to defend itself against the Russian aggression to regain full control of its territory and has the right to liberate occupied territories within its internationally recognised borders.

“The nuclear threats made by the Kremlin, the military mobilisation and the strategy of seeking to falsely present Ukraine’s territory as Russia’s and purporting that the war may now be taking place on Russia’s territory will not shake our resolve.

“We will strengthen our restrictive measures countering Russia’s illegal actions. They will further increase pressure on Russia to end its war of aggression.

“We reiterate that the European Union firmly stands with Ukraine and will continue to provide strong economic, military, social and financial support to Ukraine for as long as it takes”.

Ukraine applies for NATO membership

Brussels 30.09.2022 Ukraine has submitted an official application to join NATO, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said after Moscow organised referenda in controlled by Russian troops four Ukrainian regions. (Image: social media)

“We are de facto allies already,” Zelenskyy said. “De facto, we have already proven compatibility with Alliance standards.”

“Ukraine is applying to confirm it de jure by an expedited procedure,” he stated.

NATO’s “open door policy” is based on Article 10 of the Alliance’s founding document, the North Atlantic
Treaty (1949).

The Treaty states that NATO membership is open to any “European state in a position to
further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area”.
It states that any decision on enlargement must be made “by unanimous agreement”.
NATO claims it has helped increase stability and prosperity in Europe. It also announces that the Alliance is aimed at promoting stability and cooperation, and at building a Europe united in peace, democracy and common values.

To join the Alliance, nations are expected to respect the values of the North Atlantic Treaty, and to meet certain political, economic and military criteria, set out in the Alliance’s 1995 Study on Enlargement. These criteria include a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; fair treatment of minority populations; a commitment to resolve conflicts peacefully; an ability and willingness to make a military contribution to NATO operations; and a commitment to democratic civil-military relations and institutions.

Borrell on Russia major escalation

Brussels 22.09.2022 “What President Putin announced today constitutes another major escalation in the unprovoked war that he has launched against Ukraine” said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, while addressing press at margins of his visit to the UN, New York.

“It looks like he is speaking in a measure of panic and desperation. Putin is doubling down a failing strategy.

“By the threat of using nuclear, he is trying to intimidate Ukraine and all countries that support Ukraine. But he will fail. He has failed and he will fail again.
Unfortunately, this latest escalation is in line with the approach taken by the Russian regime until now.

“Putin’s threat to use “all weapon resources at our disposal” – this was his sentence – implies the possibility of using weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. And such a threat is unacceptable.

“Threatening with nuclear weapons is a real danger to the whole world. The international community has to react in front of this threat.

“Doing it on the International Peace Day is even more cynical. Maybe it is a coincidence, but it is particularly shocking to hear such threats during the United Nations General Assembly when the world community unites to work on peace and progress.

“Russia’s Putin is demonstrating again that it completely disregards the international norms, rules and principles. Rules, principles and norms that we have all signed [up to] – Russia also – as members of the United Nations. And these rules and principles start with territorial integrity.

“The intention to annex territories occupied by force since February 2022 and to hold sham referenda will not change their legal status. They are and they will remain internationally recognised as an integral part of Ukraine. And this is not going to change by holding sham referendum.

“Now it is clear that Russia wants to destroy Ukraine by all means, violating international law and the United Nations Charter since the beginning. But now it looks like Russia’s Putin wants to destroy Ukraine. The international community gathered here in New York needs to take the full measure of what is at stake.

The [United Nations] Security Council will meet and discuss about Ukraine tomorrow in [the light of] this new scenario. I will speak on behalf of the European Union to the Security Council. I will have the great honour and responsibility of addressing the Security Council on behalf of the European Union at that critical moment.

And tonight, immediately after hearing about the words of Mr Putin, I am convening an extraordinary and ad-hoc informal meeting of the European Union’s Foreign Ministers with the purpose to agree on a common line. And the common line – I am sure – could be summarised saying that we will not be intimidated and we will continue our full support for Ukrainian sovereignty and democracy, and continue working for this war to stop as soon as possible – before going into bigger challenges, before facing bigger threats, and before the international community has to react to such threats.

EU renews Russia sanctions

Brussels 27.07.2022 EU renews economic sanctions over Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine for further six months. On July 26 the Council today decided to prolong by six months, until 31 January 2023, the restrictive measures targeting specific sectors of the economy of the Russian Federation.

These sanctions, first introduced in 2014 in response to Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine, were significantly expanded since February 2022, in light of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine. They currently consist of a broad spectrum of sectoral measures, including restrictions on finance, energy, technology and dual-use goods, industry, transport and luxury goods.

In addition to the economic sanctions on the Russian Federation, the EU has in place different types of measures in response to Russia’s destabilising actions against Ukraine. These include: restrictions on economic relations with the illegally annexed Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as well as the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts; individual restrictive measures (asset freezes and travel restrictions) on a broad range of individuals and entities, and diplomatic measures.

Since 24 February, the EU has adopted a number of unprecedented and hard-hitting packages of sanctions in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The EU condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which blatantly violates Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It urges Russia to immediately stop its indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

The European Union is unwavering in its commitment to help Ukraine exercise its inherent right of self-defence against the Russian aggression and build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future. It also remains committed to continue bolstering Ukraine’s ability to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Borrell on Russia grain exports agreement

Brussels 22.07.2022 The European Union welcomes the agreements signed today in Istanbul by Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations to unblock the Black Sea for Ukrainian exports of grains.

“This is a critical step forward in efforts to overcome the global food insecurity caused by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Its success will depend on the swift and good faith implementation of today’s agreement” reads the statement by the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell on the agreement on export of grains.

“Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine is having a devastating global impact. Russia is deliberately destroying Ukraine’s agricultural and transport infrastructure and equipment, causing fuel shortages and creating world wide food supply chain problems through the blocking of Ukraine’s ports and the looting of Ukrainian grain. Russia has in fact endangered food security for millions of people across the world. The present agreement offers an opportunity to start reversing this negative course.

“The European Union has been supporting the relentless efforts of Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths and UNCTADs Under Secretary General Rebecca Grynspan, under the leadership of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, to find ways to unblock Ukrainian agricultural exports. We also commend Turkey for its important role in brokering this agreement and in supporting its implementation.

“The EU remains committed to helping Ukraine bring as much of its grain into global markets as quickly as possible. The EU’s Solidarity Lanes plan has facilitated the export of 2,5 million tons in June alone. We are also working closely with partners such as the UN and G7, to promote a multilateral response to broader aspects of global food security. In this context, we are mobilising over €7.7 billion until 2024.

“In line with the UN Charter, the EU will continue to work with and support the UN Secretary General in addressing the consequences of this war deliberately launched by the Russian leadership”.

EU top diplomats convene in Brussels

Brussels 17.07.2022 The Foreign Affairs Council will exchange views on the Russian aggression against Ukraine, with the participation via video teleconference of Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba. The Council will also hold a discussion on relations between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean, and digital diplomacy.

Under current affairs, ministers will discuss foreign information manipulation and interference, the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a possible EU-Israel association council, the upcoming ministerial meeting between the EU and the League of Arab States, and the situation in Sri Lanka and Tunisia.

The Council is due to approve conclusions on: EU Digital Diplomacy, foreign information manipulation and interference, EU priorities at the 77th United Nations General Assembly, and EU development aid targets for 2022.

The EU and its citizens stand in full solidarity with Ukraine and its people. The EU has taken concrete actions to support Ukraine and its neighbouring countries that are providing protection for people fleeing the war. Measures include:

The reception of refugees through the temporary protection mechanism:
€348 million in humanitarian aid for Ukraine and Moldova
material assistance to Ukraine and its neighbouring countries through the EU civil protection mechanism
€20 billion to support member states hosting refugees
€2.2 billion in macro-financial assistance to foster stability
€2 billion to support the Ukrainian armed forces

Borrell: sanctions require “strategic patience”

Brussels 17.07.2022 “Since Russia brutally invaded Ukraine, the EU has adopted six packages of sanctions against Moscow – and we are about to finalise a “maintenance and alignment” package to clarify a number of provisions to strengthen legal certainty for operators and align the EU’s sanctions with those of our allies and partners of the G7” writes the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell (pictured) in his blog.

“Our measures already now target nearly 1,200 individuals and almost 100 entities in Russia as well as a significant number of sectors of the Russian economy. These sanctions were adopted in close coordination with the G7 member, and the fact that over forty other countries, including traditionally neutral countries, have also adopted them or taken similar measures enhances their effectiveness.

“Sanctions require strategic patience because it may take a long time for them to have the desired effect.
Now, as the war drags on and the costs of energy rises, people in Europe and elsewhere ask whether these sanctions are working and/or whether the side effects are too great. Without underestimating different problems that could occur, including attempts made to bypass them, sanctions remain an important instrument of political action. But for sure we need to use them in a well targeted manner, and, above all, they require strategic patience because it may take a long time for them to have the desired effect.

“One of the main sanctions adopted is to stop buying 90% of EU oil supplies from Russia by the end of 2022, depriving Moscow of corresponding revenues. Yes, Russia is able to sell its oil to other markets, however this benefit is limited by the fact that Russia is forced to give high discounts on each barrel (Russian oil is sold at around $ 30 less than the global average). In addition, and this is perhaps the most important point, this gradual oil embargo and the scaling back of the import of gas, liberates Europe from its energy dependence on Russia. We have discussed this issue at the EU level for years, but now we are implementing it.

“Cutting our structural energy dependence on Russia matters a lot because this dependence has been an obstacle to developing a strong European policy towards Moscow’s aggressive actions.
“Cutting our structural energy dependence on Russia matters a lot because this dependence has been an obstacle to developing a strong European policy towards Moscow’s aggressive actions. This dependence probably played an important role in Putin’s initial calculations in Ukraine. He may have believed that the EU would never sanction Russia seriously because it was too dependent on energy. This is one of his most important blunders when launching this war.

“Of course, this rapid detoxification from Russian energy involves significant costs for a number of countries and sectors that we will have to face. However, it is the price to pay to defend our democracies and international law. We have to handle these consequences by reinforcing our internal solidarity and that is what we are doing. By breaking its energy dependence, in line with its climate ambition, the EU is learning that interdependence is not always a neutral instrument that is beneficial to all or a mean to guarantee peaceful international relations. The Ukraine war confirmed that interdependence can be used as a weapon”.

EU humanitarian assistance to Ukraine

Brussels 13.05.2022 Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has created one of the largest humanitarian crises in Europe’s recent history, with the ongoing war causing increasing numbers of casualties, destruction and displacement within and outside Ukraine’s borders.(Image: Roberta Metsola, archive)

Ukraine’s civilian population is being subjected to shelling and violence and an estimated one-third of Ukrainians have been forced from their homes, either within the country or to neighbouring states. As of 6 July, more than 5.6 million Ukrainian refugees have been recorded across Europe, including Poland (1,207,650), but also Germany (867,000), the Czech Republic (388,097), Turkey (145,000) and Italy (141,562) . About 90% of them are women and children, who are also at a higher risk of violence and abuse, including human trafficking, smuggling and illegal adoption.

The numbers keep changing, but more than 2.5 million Ukrainians have returned home since the beginning of the Russian invasion. Some are returning to areas which were threatened by Russian forces at the beginning of the war but are now considered safer.

EU: Ukraine €1 bn macro-financial loan

Strasbourg 07.07.2022 On Thursday, MEPs gave the green light to a €1 billion macro-financial loan to help Ukraine cover its external financing needs that have ballooned due to the war. (Image above: illustration).

Parliament agreed to a Commission proposal to provide Kyiv with an additional loan on highly favourable terms, on top of €1.2 billion disbursed already in March and May 2022. The current amount is the first tranche of upcoming exceptional macro-financial assistance worth €9 billion.

Ukraine’s external financing needs ballooned due to the Russian invasion: besides the tremendous damage to roads, bridges, factories, houses, hospitals and other physical infrastructure, the country has also lost its access to the international financial markets. As a result, Ukraine is short $39 billion (€37.3 billion) to meet its financing needs for 2022, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The loan serves as “swift financial support in a situation of acute funding needs and to ensure the continued functioning of the most critical functions of the Ukrainian state”, the proposal states. It will be disbursed in one instalment conditional on fulfilling various criteria including enhanced transparency and reporting on its use. The EU budget will exceptionally finance the interest costs.

A precondition for granting the assistance should be that Ukraine respects effective democratic mechanisms despite the concentration of power in the executive branch during the war, the proposal states.

The resolution, adopted under the urgent procedure, passed with 522 votes for, 17 against and 25 abstentions.

Macro-financial assistance is an emergency resource, provided on highly favourable terms, for EU neighbourhood countries struggling to pay their bills. The total amount of such favourable loans from the EU to Ukraine since the start of the war will reach €2.2 billion in 2022, and could reach up to €10 billion if the whole exceptional package is agreed upon.

Ukraine corruption index in 2021 indicated 23% public services users paid a bribe in last 12 months, overall Ukraine scores 122 place from 180 countries, where the research took place.

The measure will apply on the day following its publication in the Official Journal of the EU

NATO endorses new Strategic Concept

Madrid 30.06.2022 NATO heads of state and government meeting in Madrid on Wednesday 29 June 2022 approved a new Strategic Concept for the Alliance, setting out the priorities, core tasks and approaches for the next decade. The concept describes the security environment facing the Alliance, reaffirms our values, and spells out the NATO key purpose of ensuring our collective defence. It further sets out NATO three core tasks of deterrence and defence; crisis prevention and management; and cooperative security.

The document defines Russia as the “most significant and direct threat” to Allies’ security, while addressing China for the first time and the challenges that Beijing poses toward Allies’ security, interests and values. The documents also states that climate change is “a defining challenge of our time”. The Strategic Concept is updated roughly every decade and is NATO’s second most important document. It reaffirms the values of the Alliance, provides a collective assessment of security challenges and guides the Alliance’s political and military activities. The previous version was adopted at the NATO Lisbon Summit in 2010.

Ahead of the Summit thousands of protesters marched in Madrid on Sunday,Juin 26, against a NATO plans to launch a new arms race.

Leaders of member countries meet in Madrid on June 29-30, amid tight security, as the organisation faces the unprecedented challenge of Russia refusal of NATO expansion further to the East to Ukraine and Georgia.
However, in spite of Russian opposition to the NATO plans, Finland and Sweden have started the process of joining the Alliance.

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