Conflicts & War

5 Central European countries reiterate their aid commitment to Ukraine

Prague, Apr 12 (EFE).- The foreign ministers of five Central European countries on Tuesday stressed their commitment to helping Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees, while disagreements over a possible energy embargo against Russia persist.

Representatives of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia defended the need to end dependence on Russian energy, an approach rejected by Austria and Hungary.

The host of the informal meeting of the so-called “Central 5” (C5) group, Czech foreign minister Jan Lipavský, stressed that Europe and the world faced an unprecedented war in Ukraine.

The European Union cannot remain silent in the face of the war in Ukraine, which should enter the EU as soon as possible, the minister said at a presser following the meeting held on Prague’s outskirts.

The Czech Republic will focus its presidency of the EU — which will begin on July 1 — on the crisis in Ukraine and on refugees as over four million Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries, mainly Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania.

Under its presidency, Prague will push to impose an embargo on Russian energy, a quest that has been endorsed by Slovakian minister Ivan Korcok.

Hungary’s foreign minister Péter Szijjártó said that despite signing the first five packages of economic sanctions against Moscow, it continues to reject an energy embargo, given its heavy dependence on Russia.

Hungary defends Ukraine’s sovereignty and will support the neighboring country economically, but not with weapons, he added.

For his part, the Austrian foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg said that any punitive EU measures against Russian energy will have greater consequences on the bloc members. Some 80 percent of Austria’s gas imports come from Russia. EFE


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