Ukraine's Foreign Minister addresses EU on weapons, Russian assets and accession talks

Monday, 22 January 2024

Ukraine has urged the EU to ramp up arms supplies, approve a long-term support programme, confiscate Russian assets, and cut off supplies of critical parts to Russia.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba drew the attention of the EU ministers during the first session of EU Foreign Affairs Council of the year to the escalation of Russia's aerial terror and called for increasing and galvanising military support for Ukraine.

The minister emphasised the importance of creating a common space for European defence industries and a European defence hub in Ukraine.

Kuleba also welcomed the historic decision to launch negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU and called for a speedy start to the talks. He briefed his colleagues on the progress in implementing all four legislative steps identified by the European Commission, which should form the basis for approving the negotiation framework.

"We must keep the momentum going by screening the legislation and preparing the negotiating framework. We expect it to be approved as soon as possible, immediately after the European Commission assesses Ukraine's implementation of the four steps in the coming months, allowing us to hold the first intergovernmental conference in the first half of this year," the Ukrainian Foreign Minister stressed.

The minister also stressed the importance of the European Council's approval of a €50 billion long-term financing programme for Ukraine on 1 February.

Kuleba also noted that Russia is still able to obtain some technologies and equipment, including chips and microcircuits, which it uses to produce weapons.

"We need a ban on the supply of dual-use goods and a range of civilian products that Russia has used to produce weapons. Your countries have some of the best financial intelligence in the world, capable of identifying and blocking relevant business schemes," the minister said.

Kuleba expressed hope that the next sanctions package against Russia would be approved soon and work would be successfully implemented to find mechanisms to use Russia's frozen assets for Ukraine's recovery.

"All blocked Russian assets should be used to offset the consequences of Russian aggression, for defence and recovery of Ukraine. Ways to implement this decision can and must be found by the EU together with the Group of Seven. There is every international legal basis for this," the Foreign Minister said.

Before a ministerial meeting on Monday, 22 January, Josep Borrell, EU Foreign Policy Chief, said Ukrainians should not worry about possible weakening of EU support.

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