Council of Europe leaders condemn Russian air strikes against towns and cities in Ukraine
STRASBOURG. Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chair of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, Simon Coveney, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Tiny Kox, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, have made the following statement:
“We strongly condemn the Russian air strikes against towns and cities in Ukraine in the last two days which led to multiple civilian casualties, including many children, as well as the destruction of civilian infrastructure. Such indiscriminate attacks demonstrate blatant disregard for human life and constitute serious violations of international humanitarian law. They must not go unpunished. We also call for compliance by the Russian Federation with the interim measures issued by the European Court of Human Rights on refraining from attacks against civilians and civilian objects, including residential premises. The military aggression against Ukraine has inflicted great pain and suffering for too long. We call on Russia to end its aggression, comply with its obligations under international law and withdraw unconditionally from the entirety of the territory of Ukraine. “
EU agrees extra €500 million of military support for Ukraine
The Foreign Council of the European Union reached political agreement for a 7th tranche of military support to Ukraine worth €500 million.
The Council also agreed on an additional assistance measure worth €45 million for the Ukrainian forces being trained by the EU’s military training mission, EUMAM Ukraine. This brings the total military support under the European Peace Facility to €3.6 billion. According to EU High Representative Josep Borrell, the EU’s military, financial, economic and humanitarian support for Ukraine has now reached nearly €50 billion.
Before the Council discussed Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba addressed EU foreign ministers via video conference and briefed them on recent developments on the ground and on Ukraine’s current priorities.
Regarding the creation of an accountability mechanism, EU foreign ministers stressed the importance of preserving the crucial role of the International Criminal Court in international criminal justice and expressed broad support for the establishment of the International Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague as a first step.
Regarding the effectiveness of sanctions, Josep Borrell noted that Russian oil (Urals) sells for US $40 a barrel while Brent sells for US$80. “This means that the Russian oil is being sold at a discount of 50%, and it is being bought by mainly India and China,” said Borrell. “So, it is losing US$40 per barrel. It is a big hit on Russia’s financial stability.”
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EU to disburse first €3 billion of the €18 billion macro-financial support to Ukraine
Today, the European Union will disburse the first €3 billion of the €18 billion macro-financial support agreed in December. This was announced by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
“Helping Ukraine meet its financing needs to face the Russian aggression is both crucial and urgent,” von der Leyen wrote on Twitter. “The Commission is acting with utmost speed and determination.”
The aim of this emergency assistance is to provide short-term financial relief, financing Ukraine’s immediate needs, rehabilitation of critical infrastructure and initial support towards sustainable post-war reconstruction, with a view to supporting Ukraine on its path towards European integration. The loans will have a 10-year grace period.
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EU to extend sanctions against Belarus and Iran for supporting Russian war against Ukraine, says von der Leyen
The European Union will extend its sanctions, announced in response to Russian aggression against Ukraine, to those who militarily support Russia’s war, such as Belarus or Iran. This was announced by the Head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, at a press conference today following the signing of the Third EU-NATO Joint Declaration on Cooperation.
“The European Union will keep doing everything in its power to support the brave people of Ukraine. We will keep the pressure on the Kremlin for as long as it takes with the biting sanctions regime,” said von der Leyen. “We will be coming forward with new sanctions on Belarus answering Belarus’ role in this Russian war in Ukraine.”
She also confirmed that the EU will continue its “substantial humanitarian economic and Security Assistance to Ukraine as long as it is necessary”.
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EU disburses third and final €500 million tranche of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine
On 14 December, the European Commission disbursed the third and final tranche of €500 million under the exceptional €5 billion macro-financial assistance (MFA) operation for Ukraine. The payment is part of a package of MFA measures announced by the Commission on 18 May and endorsed by the European Council on 23-24 June 2022.
With this payment, the total amount of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine since the start of the war in Russia has reached €7.2 billion. The funds have been made available to Ukraine in the form of highly concessional loans with longer maturities than in a regular MFA.
This disbursement follows a positive assessment by the Commission of Ukraine’s implementation of seven structural policy measures agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on 3 October. The measures aim to strengthen the country’s economic resilience and stability, improve the business climate, strengthen the rule of law and governance and ensure Ukraine’s energy security. Ukraine has also successfully complied with the enhanced reporting requirements of this exceptional MFA.
The Commission has already disbursed to Ukraine €600 million in March and a further €600 million in May this year, followed by €1 billion in August, €2 billion in October, and €2.5 billion in November.
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New EU military support mission to Ukraine already training 1,100 Ukrainian soldiers
The new Military Assistance Mission of the European Union to support Ukraine (EUMAM for Ukraine), established on 15 November, is already training 1,100 Ukrainian soldiers in different camps, EU High Representative Josep Borrell announced during his visit to the Brzeg training facility in Poland on Friday.
Borrell said this was the broadest military mission the European Union had ever undertaken for any partner. Twenty EU countries are taking part, and they are expected to train 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers. Borrell added that the EU is also going to provide resources – €16 million for lethal equipment for training purposes.
“The Ukrainian army is one of the best in the world. They have proven to be. Ukraine is resisting, fighting off the Russian aggression, which is trying to cruelly push the country into darkness and cold. Humbled by the courageous soldiers and their will to defend their people,” wrote Borrell on Twitter.
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