Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Home » EU Proposes Over $5 Billion in Aid for Ukraine in 2024

EU Proposes Over $5 Billion in Aid for Ukraine in 2024

by Grayson Henderson
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EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday said the bloc remains steadfast in its support for Ukraine, announcing a proposed spending package of up to $5.25 billion for Kyiv in 2024.

Borrell made the comments during a press briefing alongside Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kyiv where EU foreign ministers convened their first ever off-site meeting in a display of support for Ukraine.

Though Monday’s meeting in Kyiv was touted by Borrell as a historic first, it comes at an awkward time for the pro-Ukraine Western alliance. A pro-Russian candidate won an election in Slovakia, an EU and NATO member, and the U.S. Congress omitted funding for Ukraine from its temporary spending bill. The Ukrainian military counter-offensive has been slower than Western leaders had hoped before autumn mud clogs the treads of their donated tanks.

“Our victory explicitly depends on our cooperation — the more powerful and principled steps we take together, the sooner this war will end,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the EU Foreign ministers during the meeting.

Zelenskyy noted that Ukraine continues to protect its people and its economy from continuous Russian attacks, that its counteroffensive aimed at liberating its occupied territories is progressing steadily and reminded the EU leadership that Ukraine needs more money, more weapons and more military training to achieve its goals. He also asked them to intensify sanctions against Russia.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called for efforts to prepare Ukraine for the coming winter, including through air defense and guaranteed energy supplies, after Russia bombed Ukraine’s energy infrastructure last year.

“Last winter, we saw the brutal way in which the Russian president is waging this war,” said Baerbock. “We must prevent this together with everything we have, as far as possible.”

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said holding the meeting in Ukraine’s capital was a show of “resolute and lasting support for Ukraine.”

“It is also a message to Russia that it should not count on our weariness. We will be there for a long time to come,” Colonna told reporters.

Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot said Russia must be held accountable for its aggression in Ukraine and that it is important to pressure Russia with sanctions.

“We have to do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, for the freedom of the people of Ukraine,” she said.

Russian shelling

Meanwhile, at least two people were killed and 10 were injured, including children, by Russian shelling of Ukraine’s southern region of Kherson. Regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said on the Telegram messaging app that Russian forces pounded residential areas, shops, medical facilities and other infrastructure overnight.

In September alone, 22 people were killed from Russia’s shelling of the city and its settlements said Roman Mrochko, head of Kherson city’s military administration.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports.

Russian position on Western support

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday that Russia believes fatigue with the war in Ukraine will grow in Western countries, but that it expects the United States to continue its involvement.

The White House has been in contact with allies and partners about continued funding for Ukraine and those conversations will continue, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said during a Monday press briefing.

Congress passed a stopgap bill on Saturday that extended government funding till November 17, avoiding a government shutdown but dropping additional aid to Ukraine, a White House priority opposed by a growing number of Republican lawmakers.

In a speech Sunday, Zelenskyy said nothing would weaken his country’s fight against Russia.

U.S. President Joe Biden pressed Sunday for congressional Republicans to back a bill to provide more aid to Ukraine, saying he was “sick and tired” of the political brinkmanship that nearly led to a government shutdown.

Many lawmakers, however, acknowledge that winning approval for Ukraine assistance in Congress is growing more difficult as the war between Russia and Ukraine grinds on.

Voting in the House this past week pointed to potential trouble ahead. Nearly half of House Republicans voted to strip $300 million from a defense spending bill to train Ukrainian soldiers and purchase weapons. The money later was approved separately, but opponents of support for Ukraine celebrated their growing numbers.

Source : VOA News

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