The decision to prolong temporary trade liberalisation with Ukraine was adopted by the Council on Thursday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
Trade liberalisation ‘crucial to Ukraine’s long-term recovery’: EU
“By renewing these measures the EU is continuing to demonstrate its unwavering political and economic support for Ukraine, which is still facing Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression,” the Council said in a statement.
The measures are designed to “help Ukraine to maintain the stability of its trade relations with the EU and to keep its economy going under very challenging circumstances,” according to officials in Brussels.
The EU noted that such measures were “crucial to help Ukraine in its long-term recovery,” in addition to “military, financial and humanitarian support.”
The Swedish government, which presides over the EU in the first half of 2023, said: “Russia's unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine has had a devastating impact on the country's economy.”
Johan Forssell, the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, said: “The renewed Autonomous Trade Measures will unequivocally support Ukraine and at the same time they provide the EU with a way of protecting if necessary the internal market from significant increase in imports of some agricultural products.”:
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky took to Twitter to welcome the decision of the Council of the EU.
Zelensky stated: “As we move towards the EU, this temporary liberalization should become permanent – without any exceptions or restrictions. I am grateful to all EU members for their support, which brings us closer to the EU accession.”
Drone attack on Russian ship in Black Sea?
Meanwhile, unverified footage emerged on Thursday appearing to show a drone speedboat attack on the Russian naval vessel Ivan Khurs in the Black Sea, Britain’s The Guardian newspaper reported.
The Russian reconnaissance ship was attacked with “sea drones” in the early hours of Wednesday, 74 kilometres north of the Bosphorus Strait and 400 kilometres from Ukraine’s territorial waters, according to Ukrainian media, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
As a result of the attack, some of the crew of the Ivan Khurs were injured and the vessel needs repairs, a source told Ukraine’s state broadcaster Suspilne.
Russia's defence ministry said on Wednesday that Ukraine had attempted to attack a Russian vessel using three drones, but the ship did not sustain any damage, the PAP news agency reported.
The video circulating on social media appeared to show at least one of the drones getting extremely close to the ship, though it remains unclear whether or not any damage was done, The Guardian reported.
Ukraine’s defence ministry published the footage on Twitter and wrote: “When the russian reconnaissance ship Ivan Khurs met a Ukrainian drone. Indeed, a perfect match!”
Friday is day 457 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Source: PAP, consilium.europa.eu, The Guardian