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EU’s von der Leyen vows further support to Ukraine on Kyiv visit

15.09.2022 21:30
The head of the European Commission on Thursday met Ukraine’s president in Kyiv, and promised more assistance to the war-torn country. 
Ursula von der Leyen and Volodymyr Zelensky.
Ursula von der Leyen and Volodymyr Zelensky.PAP/EPA/Sergey Dolzhenko

Ursula von der Leyen and Volodymyr Zelensky held talks in the Ukrainian capital, meeting the media at a joint news conference afterwards, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

EU integration

The head of the EC praised Ukraine for its progress on the path to European Union membership. 

She said: “I must say that the accession process is well on track. It is impressive to see the speed, the determination, the preciseness with which you are progressing.

EUR 100 mln for reconstruction of Ukrainian schools

Von der Leyen also reaffirmed the pledge to provide EUR 100 million to support Ukrainian schools “so that the damages done by the war in those schools can be repaired in the short term.”

Energy cooperation

Meanwhile, Zelensky said that Ukraine and the EU should work together to meet the “energy challenges” of the coming winter.

He thanked Brussels for connecting Ukraine’s electricity network to the EU grid.

Zelensky said that as a result, “EU countries can receive cheap electricity from Ukraine and this will help people in the EU.”

“Ukraine can earn money in the process and this will help us pay out salaries and pensions in this difficult period,” he added.

The EC president agreed, noting that “at the beginning of this atrocious war, there was still the plan that in 2024 the Ukrainian electricity grid should be connected to the European one. Well, we made it in two weeks. This was amazing.”

She added: “And since then, even better, Ukraine is delivering electricity to the European Union. We want to improve and increase this, and thus create steadfast flows of income, for example, for Ukraine.”

Ukraine’s counter-offensive, military support

Von der Leyen congratulated Ukraine on its recent battlefield successes, notably the sweeping advances in the Kharkiv region. 

She said: “I also want to congratulate you for your military successes. I know that there needs to be consolidation, but still it is impressive to see the bravery of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”

“And their success has lifted the spirits, I would say, not only for the Ukrainian people, but for all your friends, too,” the EC president added, and called on EU countries to keep providing security assistance to Ukraine.  

Meanwhile, Zelensky said that “for us today, the priority is missile defence.”

He added that Ukraine was ready to work together with the five countries that can supply the necessary equipment: France, Italy, Germany, the United States and Israel.  

Macro-financial assistance to Ukraine

Von der Leyen also announced more EU financial aid to Ukraine. She told reporters: “We have been discussing, of course, the budget support, the so-called macro-financial assistance.”

“I am very glad that today the European Parliament has voted positively on the EUR 5 billion loans. And we are working on the rest of the macro-financial assistance,” she said. 

“The EUR 5 billion can be disbursed in the first tranche, mid-October,” the head of the EC announced, as cited by the PAP news agency.

Thursday was day 204 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Source: PAPec.europa.eu