EU officials pledge solidarity with Kyiv, Zelenskiy says they will speed up sanctions

  • The EU offers more military, financial and political support
  • Kyiv’s hopes of speedy EU entry will fade
  • Zelenskiy pushes for more sanctions on Russia

Kyiv, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Ukraine urged the European Union on Thursday to impose more sanctions on Moscow as some of the bloc’s top officials visited Kyiv in a show of solidarity that did not offer a quick path to membership for the Russian invasion.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen led a delegation of more than a dozen officials who pledged military, financial and political aid ahead of the first anniversary of the February 24 invasion.

“Europe has been on Ukraine’s side since day one because we know that the future of our continent is being written here… this is a fight of democracies against authoritarian regimes,” von der Leyen told a news conference in Kyiv.

He had a first meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy shortly after his arrival, and the two leaders will hold a summit on Friday with Charles Michel, chairman of the EU’s 27 national leaders.

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The West stepped up its promises to deliver more weapons to Ukraine in January. But, unwilling to admit a country at war, the EU stands ready to dash Ukraine’s hopes for quick membership, underscoring the need for more anti-corruption measures.

“Today, we are proposing Ukraine to join key European programs; this will give Ukraine close to membership benefits in many areas,” von der Leyen said, without committing to any date.

Zelenskiy, who greeted von der Leyen with kisses on the cheek and said they had discussed a tenth package of EU sanctions against Russia.

“We can see that the pace of Europe’s sanctions has slowed down slightly while the terrorist state, on the contrary, is increasing its pace of adaptation to sanctions,” he said, standing next to von der Leyen.

However, the EU announced it will double the number of Ukrainian troops to be trained by the EU to 30,000 this year and pledged 25 million euros ($27.50 million) to demine areas retaken by Ukraine.


The EU’s top foreign policy, migration, agriculture, economy and justice officials were also in the Ukrainian capital.

EU officials said the talks included discussing more arms and money for Ukraine, as well as greater access for Ukrainian goods to the EU market, helping Kyiv meet energy needs, sanctions on Russia, prosecuting the Russia’s leadership for war and extend a mobile without roaming of the EU. Call zone to Ukraine.

The rich bloc has already earmarked nearly 60 billion euros in aid to Ukraine, including nearly 12 billion euros of military support and 18 billion euros to help run the country this year, but refuses to offer a fast track to membership. while Ukraine is at war.

“Some may want to speculate about the end of the game, but the simple truth is that we are not there yet,” an EU official said.

EU officials have listed multiple entry requirements, from political and economic stability to the adoption of various EU laws.

The EU is ready to underline its commitment to support Ukraine’s “further European integration” after granting it candidate membership status last June and will decide next steps once all conditions are “fully met”, according to a draft joint statement seen by Reuters.

Kyiv has cracked down on high-level corruption in recent days, but the EU says Ukraine must build a credible track record over time to shed its reputation for endemic bribery.

Ukraine’s requests for long-range rockets or fighter jets will not be answered by the EU this week, officials say, and impending new EU sanctions against Russia seem unlikely to meet expectations in Ukraine.

($1 = 0.9093 euros)

Additional reporting by Gabriela Baczynska and Andrew Gray in Brussels, and Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv; Written by Tom Balmforth, Edited by Timothy Heritage

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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