The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union met on Monday in Brussels. kyiv for a "historic meeting" aimed at draw the lines of "sustainable support" à this country faced with à the Russian invasion and which aims to integrate the EU.
Faced with a slow Ukrainian counter-offensive and fears of a drop in Western support for Ukraine, it is also a question of showing Russia that it “must not count” on the “weariness” of the European Union, explained French Minister Catherine Colonna.
A message which was immediately contradicted by the Kremlin, convinced that this “weariness” will “increase in different countries “.
“I am summoning foreign ministers to Kiev today, the first meeting of all 27 member countries outside the EU,” announced EU foreign minister Josep Borrell on X (formerly Twitter), welcoming this “historic meeting” in Ukraine, “candidate country and future member”.
Mr. Borrell, however, clarified that it was an “informal” meeting which “is not intended to reach conclusions and concrete decisions.”
Speaking before the 24 ministers – those from Poland, Hungary and Latvia being absent for various reasons – President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine's victory “directly depends” on cooperation between Kiev and its Western allies.
“I am sure that Ukraine and the entire free world are capable of winning in this confrontation” with Russia, he said, asking the Europeans in particular for new sanctions against Iran, which supplies drones to Moscow , and to authorize the transfer of frozen Russian assets to finance reconstruction.
– “Winter protection” –
Receiving his counterparts, the head of Ukrainian diplomacy Dmytro Kouleba welcomed the holding of the meeting in Kiev, “within the future borders of the European Union”, according to him.
Ukraine has been aiming to join the EU for years and was granted candidate status for membership in June 2022, but to take the next step, Kiev must still make progress, particularly in the fight against anti-corruption.
Monday's meeting in Kiev is an “exceptional diplomatic gesture”, underlined Ms Colonna, who explained that the EU wants to demonstrate its “resolute” and “sustainable” support for Ukraine “until it can prevail” against Moscow.
It is about showing “that Ukraine is part of the European family” and “also giving Russia the message that it should not count on our weariness”, underlined Ms Colonna. “We will be here for a long time,” she promised.
The German minister, Annalena Baerbock, asked for the establishment of a “winter protection plan” to allow the Ukraine to face the bombing of its energy infrastructure, as during last year.
This meeting is being held at a time when fears are emerging about the sustainability of Western support for Ukraine, which depends arms deliveries and financial aid from Europeans and the United States.
– “Lassitude” –
In Washington, an emergency agreement reached by the Senate this weekend to avoid a paralysis of the federal administration left aid to Ukraine out of the budget, which will have to be the subject of a separate bill. .
A Ukrainian volunteer inspects a destroyed Russian tank in a field near the town of Derhatchi, in the Kharkiv region, on October 1, 2023 © AFP – SERGEY BOBOK
US President Joe Biden then promised that the States -United States “would not abandon” Ukraine, and Kiev announced that it would “work” with its main military and financial support so that this situation “does not prevent the flow of aid.”
If the Kremlin estimated on Monday that Washington “will continue to get involved in this conflict”, it said it expected that “weariness of completely absurd support for the Kiev regime will increase in different countries”.
In Europe, Slovakia brought to the top of the legislative elections on Saturday a populist party which opposes continued aid to Ukraine. kyiv soberly said on Monday “to respect the choice of the Slovak people” and judged that it was too early to predict the consequences.
The head of French diplomacy, Catherine Colonna, before the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Kiev, October 2, 2023 © AFP – Sergei SUPINSKY
By Elsewhere, the Hungarian Foreign Minister – whose country remained closest to Moscow in the EU – as well as his Polish and Latvian colleagues did not attend the meeting in Kiev, told AFP a senior Ukrainian government official on condition of anonymity. Polish and Latvian diplomats are ill, he added.
Another source of aid for Ukraine, a mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the first in three years, is is traveling to Kiev to discuss a $15.6 billion program, announced Prime Minister Denys Chmygal.
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