The European Union remains united in its support for Ukraine, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in Kyiv on October 2, responding to a question from a reporter that the West seemed “more and more divided on the issue”.
“We remain united. I do not see any member states faulting on their engagement to support Ukraine with the tools that we have,” Borrell said, as European foreign ministers held a meeting unprecedented for being their first such gathering outside the EU, the first in an EU candidate country, and the first in a country under attack in a war.
His comments came against a background of recent developments such as the Smer party of Roberto Fico having won the most votes in Slovakia’s parliamentary elections, with Fico having stated opposition to the EU member state’s continued military aid for Ukraine, and with support for Ukraine being an issue in Poland’s forthcoming parliamentary elections, on top of a controversial deal in the US Congress on keeping the US government being funded including a provision to halt funding for aid to Ukraine.
“By coming to Kyiv, the European Union’s foreign ministers sent a strong message of solidarity and support to Ukraine in the face of this unjust and illegitimate war,” Borrell said.
“We have been talking about the security commitments that we want to provide to Ukraine, showing our determination to stand by Ukraine in the long term, to deter acts of aggression and resist the destabilisation efforts by Russia,” he said.
Borrell issued a reminder that he proposed a new bilateral multi-annual envelope under the European Peace Facility (EPF), of up to five billion euro for the next year, “more will come” he said.
“I hope that we can reach an agreement before the end of the year when the member states have to agree on the review of the Multiannual Financial Framework,” Borrell said.
“We continue training Ukrainian soldiers. The target today is to train 40 000 [soldiers] in the upcoming months, and this includes specialised training for fighter jets’ pilots.”
Borrell said that work was being done on strengthening the cooperation between the European and the Ukrainian defence industries.
“And we will continue working on increasing resilience, cyber defence and defence against hybrid threats such as disinformation and developing a common strategic communication,” he said.
“It is very important to increase our support on de-mining. This is a key condition for Ukraine’s economic recovery and reconstruction.
“We are also discussing about further promoting comprehensive reform of the law enforcement sector, accountability, and resilience, mainly via the strengthening of the existing EU Advisory Mission.”
Borrell said that “the strongest security commitment that we can give to Ukraine”, is EU membership.
“This is the strongest security commitment for Ukraine. Now Ukraine is a candidate country, and it is going further on this path.”
Borrell said that another important issue is the continuous work on accountability, “including the crime of aggression and inhumane actions such as the deportation of children. Russia has to pay for its aggression and for all its crimes”.
“We will now take forward the work on these points, in close consultation with Ukraine,” Borrell said.
“And, as I said before, together with the accession process there is the Peace Formula. We took note that President Zelenskyy’s Peace Formula is the only peace initiative discussed in the international community. Others were mentioned but they have disappeared,” he said.
“The only one that remains, the only one that attracts the attention and the work of the international community is President Zelenskyy’s Peace Formula. It is – we can say – the only game in town. It is ‘the’ formula. We will continue working as the European Union to make it more global and the basis for the future peace.”
In a post on X (twitter.com), Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: “I appreciate the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Kyiv that proved unity in support for Ukraine. Continued EU military aid for Ukraine is important, both immediate and long-term, as well as financial assistance and sanctions pressure on Russia”.
(Photo via Borrell’s page on X)
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