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Josep Borrell: « Ukrainians remain determined to fight for their freedom! »

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Last week Josep Borrell High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission travelled to Poland and Ukraine, where he addressed the Verkhovna Rada (the Parliament) and met President Zelenskyy, and others from the country’s political leadership.

« Despite growing Russian pressure, the Ukrainians remain determined to fight for their independence and freedom, but they need more military support, and they need it now. The quality and quantity of this support by the EU and its member states in coming months will be decisive. For Ukraine, but also for our own security.” – Josep Borrell said.

This is the reason why the EU have been taking stock of planned EU deliveries of military support in 2024 – currently estimated at more than EUR 20 billion – at its last Defence Ministers meeting. The high Representative urged EU member states to work with their defence industries in renegotiating contracts and prioritise deliveries of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine.

« We are also in the process of establishing a 5 billion tranche of the Ukraine Assistance Fund within the European Peace Facility to fund additional deliveries of military support. What the EU and its Member States do in the coming months to provide Ukraine with the tools to withstand a Russian offensive will be decisive, for both Ukraine, but also for the security of the European Union.”- he repeated.

While in Kyiv, Mr. Borrell experienced first-hand the daily reality of most Ukrainians and what a difference Western military technology makes in Ukraine.

« At 5:00 in the morning, the air alarm sounded – as it has done 40.000 times in Ukraine since February 2022 – and we had to take shelter from about 20 Russian cruise missiles heading towards Kyiv. All of them were intercepted by Western-provided air defence systems, but the debris of one of these missiles hit a residency building, tragically killing four people and injuring many more.” Mr. Borrell says.

The High Representative met the Mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, and met some of the people who had just lost their homes.

« In cities with less protection by Western air defence, they are taking a high death toll. On 14 January 2023, for instance, that was the case in Dnipro, where a Russian missile hit a residential building, taking the lives of entire families, 46 people in total. To this day, many children in Dnipro could not return to their classrooms. Schools without shelters are forced to provide classes online. Providing Ukraine with more and better air-defence systems is an urgent priority. They save many lives.” -he said

During the visit the High Representative delivered a speech to the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s Parliament. He paid homage to the bravery of the Ukrainians who have been fighting, and often paying the ultimate price, to safeguard their country, their families, their culture and their democracy against the Russian attempt to annihilate Ukraine.

« Ukraine is at the front line between democracy and authoritarian rule and with their fight, Ukrainians are making a decisive contribution to the security of Europe as a whole. If Putin won in Ukraine, our security would be at high risk. This is why we need to change paradigm from supporting Ukraine for “as long as it takes” to committing ourselves to support Ukraine with “whatever it takes” to win the war and win the peace. We need to oppose the claims that Ukraine cannot win and that Putin should be appeased.” -he added.

Upon arrival at the NATO Defence Ministers Meeting he said: « We, at the European Union, have to convince all Member States to increase their supplies of arms and to develop our industrial capacity. It is urgent. We have to continue providing ammunition. If we put together what has been donated and what is being supplied through exports, we are above 1 million ammunitions – we will be at more than that at the end of the year. But what we need is a stronger capacity of our industry. Our defence industry has to develop quicker and that is why we will present a new strategy for that. Today, we will coordinate with partners in order to make Ukraine prevail and supply whatever Ukraine needs in order to continue resisting the aggression ».

EU Briefs publie des articles provenant de diverses sources extérieures qui expriment un large éventail de points de vue. Les positions prises dans ces articles ne sont pas nécessairement celles d'EU Briefs.

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