Conflicts & War

EU readying fresh sanctions on Russia as war anniversary nears

Lviv, Ukraine, Feb 2 (EFE).- European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen Thursday said she hoped that a 10th package of sanctions against Russia would be ready by the first anniversary of the war on Ukraine on February 24.

“By the 24th of February — exactly one year since the invasion started — we aim to have the 10th package of sanctions in place,” von der Leyen said in a joint press conference with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.

Zelenskyy called on von der Leyen to hit Russia with new sanctions, saying the invading country was “accelerating” its ability to adapt to the existing sanctions.

“This is a common European task, to reduce Russia’s capability of evading sanctions,” Zelenskyy said in a meeting with von der Leyen.

The EU leader led a delegation of senior EU officials, including top diplomat Josep Borrell, in a visit to Kyiv Thursday to demonstrate that the bloc “stands by Ukraine as firmly as ever.”

“Good to be back in Kyiv, my 4th time since Russia‘s invasion. This time, with my team of Commissioners,” the German politician said in a statement posted to her official Twitter page after her arrival to Kyiv with a team of 15 commissioners.

In a separate tweet, Borrell said: “Arrived in Kyiv to convey the EU’s strongest message of support to all Ukrainians defending their country. EU assistance has reached €50 billion since the start of Russia’s war. Europe stood united with Ukraine from day one. And will still stand with you to win and rebuild.”

He added that he landed an agreement with Ukrainian PM Denys Shmyhal to train a further 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers as part of the EU Military Assistance Mission, bringing the total number to 30,000.

European Council president Charles Michel is due to join the delegation Friday for an EU-Ukraine summit.

“The meeting between the Commission and the Ukrainian Government will be an opportunity to exchange on the many areas of cooperation between the EU and Ukraine, and discuss the upcoming reconstruction as well as the country’s European path. It is also an opportunity to deepen further cooperation with Ukraine,” the Commission said in a statement.

Von der Leyen was joined Thursday by top members of the College of Commissioners – the cabinet of the EU’s executive branch.

Due to security concerns, most of the commissioners will begin the return journey to Brussels on Thursday, although von der Leyen will remain in Kyiv ahead of a meeting with her Council counterpart Michel and Zelenskyy on Friday.

Ukraine applied for EU membership soon after the Russian invasion began in February last year. In June, the European Council granted the war-torn nation candidate status. EFE


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