EU foreign ministers have agreed to allocate an additional €500 million from the European Peace Facility for arms supplies to Ukraine. This will bring the total amount of the EU military support to Ukraine to €2 billion. At the same time, however, ministers failed to agree on a sixth package of sanctions against Russia and an oil ban, EU High Representative Josep Borrell reported last night.
The EU High Representative was speaking after the EU Foreign Affairs Council that was joined by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, and Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly.
Borrell noted that the €2 billion in military support was “just the tip of the iceberg”, because Member States “do a lot from their side without asking for refunding”.
Borrell also said the EU has to help Ukraine to keep producing and exporting grains and wheat via the already established initiative ‘Solidarity Lanes’. “The storage capacity of Ukraine is full, because they cannot export this grain and they need to empty this storage capacity in order to be able to receive the next crop. So, we are working on how to help them to take this grain out by train,” added Borrell.
Regarding sanctions, he said: “We will continue imposing sanctions on Russia to make the cost of invasion unbearable for the Kremlin. We continue discussing. Unhappily today, it has not been possible to reach an agreement to finalise the 6th sanctions package. The issue will go back to the COREPER and [EU] Ambassadors will continue discussing. We are with the same difficulties about unanimity on the oil ban.”
EU ministers also met over lunch with the six foreign ministers of the Western Balkan countries to discuss their path to the European Union. “Ministers expressed their clear expectation towards the partners as future Member States, to commit to European values and to the European foreign policy. Those who have not yet done so – and Serbia is one of them – should, as soon as they can, step up their alignment and implement sanctions [against Russia],” Borrell said, adding the European Union’s partner countries could not remain neutral in the current situation: “To maintain close ties with [Vladimir] Putin’s regime is no longer compatible with building a common future with the European Union. Both things at the same time are not compatible. Being neutral today, with respect to the Ukrainian war, is a false concept.” He also said that the EU intends to support its “partners in order to mitigate the effects of this upcoming crisis”.
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Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia announced Sunday that the next round of one-on-one talks between Kyiv and Moscow will take place in Turkey on March 28-30.
D. Arakhamia made the announcement on social media.
Ukraine described previous talks with Russia, launched after Russia unleashed an invasion last month, as "very difficult."
Ankara hosted the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine in Antalya earlier this month. Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov of Russia and Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine met for talks in the Turkish resort town of Antalya, which Çavuşoğlu also attended. The talks were largely inconclusive, but Ankara considers the fact that they took place at all a success.
Maintaining its neutral and balanced stance, Turkey continues its diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the Ukraine conflict, urging all sides to exercise restraint. While Ankara has opposed international sanctions designed to isolate Moscow, it also closed its straits to prevent some Russian vessels from crossing through them.
NATO ally Turkey borders Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea and has good ties with both. Since the beginning of the conflict, Ankara has offered to mediate between the two sides and host peace talks, underlining its support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Having recently called Russia’s invasion an unacceptable violation of international law, Turkey has carefully formulated its rhetoric not to offend Moscow, with which it has close energy, defense and tourism ties.
While forging close ties with Russia on energy, defense and trade, and relying heavily on Russian tourists, Turkey has sold drones to Ukraine, which angered Moscow. Turkey also opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya, as well as Moscow's annexation of Crimea. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeatedly said Turkey will not abandon its relations with Russia or Ukraine, underlining that Ankara's ability to speak to both sides is an asset.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba are meeting in a small resort town in Turkey's southern province of Antalya, local media reported on Thursday.
The meeting comes on the sidelines of an international forum in the presence of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
It is the first high-level meeting between Moscow and Kiev since Russia launched a "special military operation" in Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The three ministers are scheduled to hold separate press conferences following the talks in Belek, a resort town about 30 km from Antalya's provincial capital.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the meeting is "an important continuation of the negotiation process."
While Ukrainian and Russian delegations have held three rounds of peace talks in Belarus since last week, the negotiations ended without any substantial progress on ending the conflict.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service
The following is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke by phone today with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. The Secretary noted the United States and partners remain united in our commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including its economic and financial stability. The Secretary highlighted that, although the United States’ immediate priority is to support efforts to de-escalate the situation, any further military aggression by Russia against Ukraine will be met with a swift, coordinated, and forceful response.
OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON
The Vice Prime Minister of Georgia/Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA), David Zalkaliani spoke over the phone with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, on 24 January 2022.
David Zalkaliani reaffirmed Georgia's unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and expressed his strong support for the country facing the difficult situation. The Georgian Foreign Minister also highlighted that Georgia and Ukraine are dealing with the same challenges caused by the occupation.
The sides exchanged information on the ongoing processes and the developments along the Ukrainian border. They also talked about communication with high level representatives of Ukraine and Georgia, in parallel to the western partners’ ongoing dialogue with Russia.
In this light, the sides positively assessed the international partners’ support and their unequivocal position that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine, as well as the sovereign right of the two countries to choose for themselves their own future and decide whether they will pursue or not European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations are the red lines, which will not be crossed in the negotiation process, and that there will be no decision about Georgia and Ukraine without Georgia and Ukraine.
During the telephone conversation, the sides highlighted the international platforms and close bilateral communication between Georgia and Ukraine. The ministers agreed to continue high-level contacts by exchanging information and sharing their positions on the ongoing processes.