During a historic joint visit to Kiev, the foreign ministers of the EU countries sent a signal of support for Ukraine, which was attacked by Russia. It is the first time that there has been such a meeting of representatives of all 27 EU states outside the EU, said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. According to him, the discussions focused on the situation regarding the Russian invasion and the EU's support for Ukraine.
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock reiterated her call for a “winter protection umbrella” for Ukraine. This includes expanding air defense, supplying electricity generators and strengthening the energy supply, said the Green politician. Last winter, Russia tried to force the Ukrainians down with systematic attacks on energy supplies.
Kuleba: EU expands into Ukraine
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the message of the meeting was that the European Union was expanding into Ukraine; We are very grateful for that. The “historic event” took place outside the current EU borders, “but within the future EU borders”.
The foreign ministers arrived in Kiev on Monday by night train. As was usual during the Russian war of aggression, the trip was not announced in advance for security reasons. Since Russia invaded the neighboring country in February 2022, never before has such a large group of high-ranking foreign politicians arrived.
Before the meeting, Borrell had suggested promising Ukraine money for armaments in the long term and also using EU money to finance the delivery of modern fighter jets and missiles. He wants to mobilize five billion euros annually from 2024 to the end of 2027.
Danish Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said his country supported the proposal. With a view to the possible decline in US aid to Ukraine, he said that, in his view, Europe was already doing its part. But you have to be prepared to do more. The meeting should send a strong transatlantic signal and show that we are ready to take responsibility for events on our own continent. Many ministers expressed concern that funding for US aid to Ukraine is currently in limbo because of a budget dispute.
Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot said Ukrainians should continue to be supported with good weapons and ammunition because they fought for the freedom of all of Europe. “This is not just the war of the Ukrainians, but also a war of Europe as a continent,” she emphasized.
Finland's experience with Russia as a neighbor
Finland knows how difficult it is to build a democratic and open society next to a neighbor like Russia, said Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen from Helsinki. “It is therefore all the more important for us Finns to support the Ukrainians on their path to the European Union and NATO one day.”
Last winter we saw "in what brutal way the Russian president is waging this war by deliberately attacking power plants," said Baerbock. Vladimir Putin is betting that the water supply will collapse at 20 degrees of frost. “We have to prevent this as much as possible with everything we have.” Germany has already provided Ukraine with extensive support with air defense systems such as Iris-T and Patriot.
Baerbock: The future of Ukraine lies in the EU
Baerbock reiterated the EU's promise to admit Ukraine into the community of states with its current 27 members at an as yet undetermined date. "The future of Ukraine lies in the European Union, in this community of freedom. And that will soon stretch from Lisbon to Luhansk."
Ukraine has officially been a candidate for membership since June 2022. However, the EU states still have to decide unanimously about whether to start negotiations. There should be a positive vote if Ukraine meets certain requirements. These include successes in the fight against corruption.
Baerbock was last in Ukraine on September 11th. While the minister came from most EU countries, the important neighboring country Poland was represented by a deputy foreign minister. The close relationship is currently strained due to a Polish import ban on Ukrainian grain. Only one high-ranking diplomat came from Russia-friendly Hungary.