European Union foreign ministers sought on Monday to show that the bloc can maintain its financial and military support for Ukraine despite the serious inflationary impact on EU economies five months after Russia's invasion, APA reports citing Reuters.
The foreign ministers are likely to approve another 500 million euros ($504.35 million) of EU funding to supply arms to Ukraine, taking the bloc's security support to 2 billion euros since Russia forces swept into Ukraine on Feb. 24. They are also close to agreeing an import ban on Russian gold.
"We must support Ukraine," Swedish Deputy Foreign Minister Robert Rydberg said as he arrived for the meeting. "Sweden will raise the importance of agreeing on a new military support package for Ukraine. We will also raise the importance of continuing to strengthen the restrictive measures against Russia," he said, without going into details.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will address the 27 EU ministers via video conference later on Monday, and EU diplomats expect him to plead for more sanctions, more weapons, and a continued tough line on Russia.
"We are not going to stop supporting Ukraine (or) putting sanctions on Russia," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who was chairing Monday's meeting, told reporters on arrival.
But after six rounds of EU sanctions on Russia, rising food and energy prices in Europe, and a war that neither Ukraine nor Russia can easily win, Borrell said it was becoming harder to keep up the sense of urgency.
"We have to have strategic patience," he said, adding he hoped for a deal with Russia this week to release blocked Ukrainian grains exports.