The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is calling on international donors to help repair the damage to the Chernobyl nuclear plant caused by Russia’s reckless actions.
The bank, which has been at the forefront of efforts to rebuild Chernobyl, says it will need at least €100 million to do so.
“Russia’s military occupation of Chernobyl has thrown into uncertainty decades of international cooperation in helping make safe the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident,” says the EBRD.
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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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National promotional banks and institutions from EU member states and the European Investment Bank on 6 May launched the €2 billion ‘Quick Response — Care for Ukrainian Refugees in Europe’ initiative. The joint initiative aims to provide immediate relief this year for refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine and to promote the integration of Ukrainian refugees in EU Member States.
The initiative was launched in Paris by five European national promotional banks and institutions, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Association of Long-Term Investors (ELTI). The participants in the initiative will contribute directly or indirectly through their respective general programmes along with regional and local communities to provide housing for refugees and support their integration into local communities. The initiative could also finance education, healthcare and infrastructure needs and has a target of at least €2 billion of financial support this year.
The urgent support initiative in Europe is a first step as the group considers further measures to help Member States deal with the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The five national promotional institutions involved are:
- Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK — Poland)
- Groupe Caisse des Dépôts (CDC — France)
- Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP — Italy)
- Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO — Spain)
- Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW — Germany)
ELTI is the European association of public national promotional banks and financial institutions gathering 31 members all over Europe.
The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.
The pan-European support initiative for Ukraine will provide loans, grants, equity investment and guarantees for eligible projects and develop innovative financing structures for public and private infrastructure, municipalities as well as private enterprises of different sizes.
Source: EU NEIGHBOURS east
International NGOs Urge International community to Enact International Law for Peace to End Wars in UkraineFriday, 06 May 2022 13:21
Organizations from all over the world gathered at the “International Conference on the Restoration of Peace in Ukraine” hosted by international peace NGO, HWPL and Business Woman Magazine
As Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues for more than 50 days, the international community is seeking and proposing ways to end the war from various angles.
At 11am (GMT+0) On April 21, 2022, Ukraine branch of Heavenly Culture World Peace Restoration of Light (HWPL) and Business Woman Magazine co-hosted <International Conference on the Restoration of Peace in Ukraine> online in attendance with around 500 participants in 15 countries. The conference was held to share the results of humanitarian aid and call for collaborative efforts by the international community to restore peace in Ukraine.
HWPL is a Korea-based international peace NGO associated with the UN ECOSOC and the UN DGC. Since 2013, HWPL has carried out various peace activities for global peace and cessation of war. As a representative example, HWPL announced the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) in 2016 to enact international law for peace and received 'DPCW support signatures' from 176 countries worldwide.
The Business Woman Magazine, the co-host of the event, was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in Ukraine, with 30 overseas branches in 30 countries. The magazine introduces business cases of women entrepreneurs worldwide and is certified as the only Ukrainian international magazine by the European Parliament and the European Commission.
At the conference, leaders from all walks of life in Ukraine in a state of war, professors, and journalists cooperating with HWPL, made presentations accusing the inhumane realities of the current war. It included Maryna Popatenko, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine who gave a speech on the topic of “The current situation in Ukraine and requests for international community support,” and Hanna Krysiuk, founder of the international magazine "Business Woman", Professor Rommel Santos Diaz, and journalist Igor Shevyrov.
HWPL introduced the ongoing refugee assistance projects of its partner organizations, International assistance headquarters for Ukrainians, NGO “Poruch”, Charitable Foundation “SWAN”, Women's Union of Ukraine, and encouraged attendees to raise funds for humanitarian aid.
Prof. Rommel Santos Diaz, President of the Dominican Federalist Foundation and Professor of international law at the Universidad INCE said, "HWPL has discovered the document that best complements the charter of the United Nations. Also with the charter of the Organization of American States (OAS), and the OAS’s Statute of International Court is the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW)" and he announced the value of DPCW as "A transcendental document that, at this time, would exert a very positive influence as a foundation for the search for solutions in Ukraine."
“I would like to emphasize that there are now about 8 million young people left in Ukraine, of whom 2 million have become internally displaced, many are in hostilities, many have lost their homes, many have lost their jobs, businesses and forced to suspend their studies. They all need special attention and support.,” said Maryna Popatenko who is Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine.
“Right after the outbreak of the war, HWPL condemned Russia’s invasion, which resulted in countless civilian casualties, and urged it to uphold the principles of international law through an official statement,” said Maria Zakharchenko, coordinator of HWPL’s Ukraine branch. She added, “Through this event, HWPL shared humanitarian support and campaign activities to restore peace in Ukraine and will continue to carry out peace activities with the spirit of DPCW. We expect more attention and aid from the international community to support the Ukrainian people.
HWPL emphasized the need for international support for Ukrainian citizens as the war became protracted. HWPL has created an introduction page for fundraising information for partner organizations, which can be found at https://www.facebook.com/ngo.HWPL.cis/.
Meanwhile, HWPL Ukraine branch sent groceries such as macaroni to help the students of HWPL Peace Education suffering from food shortages from April 1st. -The goods were provided by the raising funds from HWPL members in other countries. As a result, about 300 people -including faculty and staff- of the schools located in Kherson and Donetsk Provinces received the relief supplies.
Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia participated ibn a High-Level International Donors Conference for Ukraine within the scope of his visit to the Republic of Poland along with numerous other leaders of participating nations.
The Head of Government of Georgia arrived at the national stadium of Warsaw, which was a designated venue of the high-level conference. He was greeted by Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Poland and Magdalena Andersson, Prime Minister of Sweden. The High-Level International Donors Conference is co-hosted by the Prime Ministers of Poland and Sweden, in partnership with the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission. Participants of the conference reviewed the consequences of the war waged in Ukraine and discussed the solutions to the humanitarian and economic crisis.
Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Poland addressed the audience along with Magdalena Andersson, Prime Minister of Sweden; Charles Michel, President of the European Council and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. Participants of the conference also listened to the video address of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine.
Prime Minsiter of Sweden, Spain, Ukraine, Lithunia, Latvia, Albania, Croatia, Iceland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Norway were among the participants of the high-level conference.
The Head of Government of Georgia addressed the participating leaders of states at a Pledging Session of the conference.
International Financial Institutions (IFIs), World Health Organization (WHO) and UN system institutions were engaged in the session along with various leaders of the world.
Georgian attendees of the High-Level International Donors Conference included Ilia Darchiashvili, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and H.E. Zurab Beridze, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Georgia to the Republic of Poland.
Press Service of the Government Administration
The European Commission today announced a new aid package of €200 million to support displaced people in Ukraine, in the context of the International Donors’ Conference convened jointly by Poland and Sweden.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today we came together with a clear purpose: to support the brave people of Ukraine, who fight the aggressor and stand up for their freedom. We are now in the 10th week of Russia’s brutal invasion. Ten weeks during which the European Union stood firmly by Ukraine. Today, the European Union answered the call, once more, to support Ukraine. On behalf of the European Commission, I pledged €200 million for Ukraine. And last month, during a pledging event, we raised €9.1 billion for Ukrainians inside and outside Ukraine. We know that more will be needed. And we will continue to stand up for Ukraine.”
Close to 8 million people, two-third of whom are children, have been internally displaced since the beginning of Putin’s war in Ukraine. More than 5.3 million have left Ukraine to seek shelter in the EU and neighbouring countries.
The European Union has been supporting the Ukrainian people from the very beginning of Russia’s brutal invasion, mobilising the EU’s economic power, with series of sanctions designed to drain the resources used by Putin to finance his war.
On the other hand, the EU has already channelled around €4 billion in macro-financial assistance, humanitarian aid and support to Member States welcoming refugees from Ukraine.
Now, the European Commission stands ready to help rebuild the country after the war. Yesterday, President von der Leyen proposed to start working on an ambitious recovery package. It should bring the massive investment needed to rebuild, implement reforms and make Ukraine an attractive place for investments.
Source: EU NEIGHBOURS east
As the Russia-Ukraine conflict rages into the third month with no sign of truce any time soon, the entire European continent is bearing the brunt of the crisis. #GLOBALink
Produced by Xinhua Global Service
The assistance the Biden-Harris Administration has provided to Ukraine to date has made a significant difference on the battlefield, helping Ukrainians defend their country and win the battle for Kyiv. Now, as the war shifts to and intensifies in Ukraine’s eastern front, the Biden-Harris Administration is calling on Congress to provide additional resources to help ensure Ukraine’s democracy prevails over Putin’s aggression.
The supplemental resources Congress provided on a bipartisan basis in March have been critical to bolstering security in Eastern Europe, countering Russia’s malign activities in the region, and delivering critical humanitarian and economic assistance to Ukraine and neighboring partners. Almost all of the $3.5 billion in drawdown authority Congress provided in March has been exhausted as the Biden-Harris Administration has surged military assistance to Ukraine, which they have used to great effect. U.S. supplied weapons and ammunitions – including anti-tank and anti-air systems, helicopters, drones, grenade launchers, and more than 50 million rounds of ammunition – have been flowing into Ukraine daily, and the United States has been working with allies and partners to facilitate deliveries of additional weapons capabilities. The Defense Department has also used $1 billion in supplemental resources to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank and bolster NATO’s security posture to deter Russian aggression.
At the same time, the Administration is delivering humanitarian, economic, food, and other security assistance to Ukraine and the region. This includes roughly $1.7 billion to ensure continuity of Ukraine’s democratic operations and provide other macroeconomic assistance to the region. It also includes $650 million in military assistance to Ukraine, eastern flank countries, and other partners in the region, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in food, shelter, and other humanitarian aid to help Ukrainians who have been displaced by Russia’s war. Supplemental resources are also supporting efforts to hold Putin and his cronies accountable for their war of choice, helping the United States seize billions in assets and holdings.
Continued bipartisan support in Congress is vital to ensuring that the Ukrainian people have the resources they need to win this war, and this Administration is committed to working with lawmakers and our global allies and partners to keep aid flowing to Ukraine uninterrupted and to support those devastated by the food crisis that Putin’s war has exacerbated.
The $33 billion in security, economic, and humanitarian aid requested today will:
Help Ukraine Defend Itself Over the Long-Term
The Administration is requesting $20.4 billion in additional security and military assistance for Ukraine and for U.S. efforts to strengthen European security in cooperation with our NATO allies and other partners in the region. This includes $5 billion in additional drawdown authority, $6 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and $4 billion for the State Department’s Foreign Military Financing program. These resources will put urgently needed equipment into the hands of Ukraine’s military and police, as well as help NATO deter and defend against Russian aggression over the long-term. These additional resources will be used to provide Ukraine and Eastern flank allies with:
- Additional artillery, armored vehicles, anti-armor and anti-air capabilities flowing into Ukraine uninterrupted.
- Accelerated cyber capabilities and advanced air defense systems, improved production capabilities for munitions and strategic minerals, and increased intelligence support.
- Assistance to clear landmines, improvised explosive devices, and other explosive remnants of war and for the Government of Ukraine in securing and addressing threats related to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials.
- A stronger NATO security posture through support for U.S. troop deployments on NATO territory, including transportation of U.S. personnel and equipment, temporary duty, special pay, airlift, weapons system sustainment, and medical support.
Additional Economic Aid to Support Democracy in Ukraine
The Administration is calling on Congress to provide an additional $8.5 billion in economic assistance to help the Government of Ukraine respond to the immediate crisis and continue to provide basic citizen services. This includes funds to:
- Ensure Ukraine’s democratic government continues functioning; support food, energy, and health care services for the Ukrainian people; and assist the Ukrainian government in responding to operational challenges as businesses shutter and revenue collection plummets.
- Counter Russian disinformation and propaganda narratives, promote accountability for Russian human rights violation, and support activists, journalists, and independent media to defend freedom of expression.
- Support small- and medium- sized agrobusinesses during the fall harvest and for natural gas purchases by the Ukrainian state energy company in order to address critical food security, energy, and other emerging needs in Ukraine.
Address Humanitarian Needs due to Russia’s War
The $3 billion in additional humanitarian assistance will provide critical resources to address food security needs around the globe, provide wheat and other commodities to people in need, build countries’ resilience to global food supply and price shocks, and provide lifesaving aid to people displaced by or otherwise impacted by Putin’s War in Ukraine. This funding will mean:
- Direct food support, including wheat and flour, for individuals in developing countries impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as helping countries build more resilient agricultural systems.
- Medical supplies, high thermal blankets, emergency health kits, safe drinking water, shelter materials, and other lifesaving humanitarian assistance for Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s war.
- Job training, trauma-informed mental health services, and resources for local school districts to support Ukrainians arriving in the United States, including the new Uniting for Ukraine program.
Bolster Sanctions Enforcement
Resources will also bolster the Department of Justice’s KleptoCapture Task force efforts to pursue high value asset seizures from sanctioned individuals related to Russian actions in Ukraine. The Administration is also proposing legislation to streamline the process to recoup proceeds from seized and forfeited assets and use them to remediate the harm caused in Ukraine.
Addressing Economic Disruptions at Home and Around the World Due to Putin’s Aggression
An additional $500 million in domestic food production assistance will support the production of U.S. food crops that are experiencing a global shortage due to the war in Ukraine, for example, wheat and soybeans. Through higher loan rates and crop insurance incentives the request provides greater access to credit and lowers risk for farmers growing these food commodities, while lowering costs for American consumers.
Additional funding will also allow use of the Defense Production Act to expand domestic production of critical minerals and materials that have been disrupted by Putin’s war in Ukraine and that are necessary to make everything from defense systems to automobiles. This will help address economic disruptions and reduce price pressures at home and around the world.
Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. For more than two months since then, every single day has begun with the latest news on Ukraine. Along with sad news, people tune in, hoping to catch some better news, or drawing home and inspiration from stories of heroism and solidarity. Indeed, from the very first day, thousands of Georgians have united in support of Ukraine, and ordinary civilians, volunteers and organisations engage in humanitarian activities every day.
On 18 February, five Ukrainian friends had arrived in Georgia for a short stay. On 24 February, they found themselves trapped in Gudauri, unable to go home. Left in a foreign country, they were scrambling for resources to keep going, while desperately worried about their family and friends in Ukraine and the fate of their country.
Some of the friends eventually went to the Ukrainian border in Poland, but Yuliana and Katerina stayed in Georgia.
That was when they met Rusudan Tskhomelidze, who published a post on social media, offering shelter to Ukrainian citizens for free. The search for lodging marked the beginning of a friendship between the young Ukrainians and Rusudan’s family.
“We feel enormous support from the Georgian people” – Yuliana
A sociologist by profession, Yuliana was born and raised in Kyiv. She has a cat who is with her father in Kyiv, and her mother lives near Irpin. Yuliana is in a state of constant worry, but at least she is happy she can regularly communicate with her family.
“As soon as the war started, I created a family chat and I check it once every few hours, to know what is happening,” says Yuliana.
“The American press constantly writes that the Russian aggressors will run out of strength, equipment, also their morale is weak, and all this gives me hope that everything will end soon. It is hard to be certain about anything, no one knows what Russia will do. I hope that the political and economic pressure will have an effect and yield the desired results.”
The relationship with Rusudan’s family and the support of the Georgian people have been an enormous help to Yuliana in these difficult times.
“The relationship with Rusudan’s family eases our sorrow, they try to support us as much as they can. In addition to us not having to think about financial issues, they support us mentally as well. We’ve become friends with Rusudan’s family and this helps us. Generally, we feel great support from the Georgian people.
“Good news from Ukraine help me to deal with these days, there are bad news in between too, but I try to feel a little relief from the good news. I have video calls with my friends and family, I see my cats, I check social media and see that life goes on in Ukraine, they have switched to a new routine – all this reduces the worry in a way,” says Yulyana.
“There should be no war in any country” – Katerina
Before the war, Katerina had helped refugees from Belarus, Russia and Uzbekistan – she provided legal assistance, and facilitated their access to social services in Ukraine. Now she has ended up as a refugee herself.
“We did not leave because of war, but we became refugees because we cannot go back to Ukraine. I helped refugees before the war, I was a volunteer and tried to change people’s lives for the better. Now that Ukrainians are leaving the country and Europe has given them the same opportunity, that makes me happy,” says Katerina.
Strasbourg, 14.04.2022 - A general policy debate on the consequences of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine will be at the centre of the spring plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), to be held in hybrid format from 25 to 28 April 2022.
In the context of this aggression, there has also been a request for an urgent debate on ensuring accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian law.
Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italian Republic, is due to address the Assembly at midday on Wednesday, and will answer questions from the parliamentarians.
The Assembly also debates reports on strengthening the strategic partnership between the Council of Europe and the EU, safeguarding and promoting genuine democracy in Europe, and on how to put confiscated criminal assets to good use.
Also on the agenda are reports on combating children’s exposure to pornographic content, on the deinstitutionalisation of persons with disabilities, on preventing excessive and unjustified use of force by law enforcement officers, on tackling discrimination based on social origin, and on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Georgia.
Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, will also present her annual activity report for 2021, and take questions from the parliamentarians. Marija Pejčinović Burić, the Council of Europe Secretary General, holds the usual question time with PACE members.
Benedetto Della Vedova, Undersecretary of State at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, will present the Communication from the Committee of Ministers in the framework of Italy’s Council of Europe Presidency.
The Assembly will decide its final agenda on the first day of the session.
of the PACE