The withdrawal of Russian troops from the surroundings of kyiv and the relaxation of the bombing have opened the door to the highest-level diplomatic visit to the Ukrainian capital in the 44 days of war, which the president of the Commission began this Friday Union, Ursula Von der Leyen, the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, and the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Eduard Heger.
The displacement is marked by intense security measures, as shown by the fact that Heger confirmed on Twitter the arrival in kyiv ―by train from the Polish Przemsyl station― a few minutes after Borrell announced that they were on their way and Von der Leyen expressed his I want to get to the city. Ukraine’s presidential spokesman, Sergiy Nikiforov, said at the time that few details would be announced for security reasons.
The three representatives are scheduled to meet in kyiv with the Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, to express the “complete solidarity of the EU with Ukraine in the face of the invasion by Russia,” according to the chief spokesman for the Community Executive, Eric Mamer. . They will also address “the support that the EU is providing and will continue to provide to Ukraine in these difficult circumstances,” he added.
Also this Thursday, Borrell pointed out that “what Ukraine really needs is more weapons, less applause and more weapons.” “Good words, good. But the important thing is the practical issues, more resources, more military capacity to resist Russian aggression,” he said, arriving at a summit of foreign ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
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The Prime Minister of Slovakia has also announced that he will offer Zelensky his country’s help to dispose of Ukraine’s wheat and contain the increase in its price throughout the world, 22% since the beginning of the Russian invasion. The proposal is that Ukraine, a large producer of wheat, export it through the logistics hub of Kosice, a Slovak city very close to the Hungarian border and a few dozen kilometers from the Ukraine.
Borrell, Von der Leyen and Heger have arrived in kyiv with a recent achievement in the suitcase: the first energy sanctions against Russia. The fifth package of measures, approved this Thursday, includes a ban on imports of Russian coal. Its approval has been spurred by images of dead civilians in the streets of Bucha, northwest of kyiv, after the withdrawal of Russian troops, since it did not appear in the draft a week ago.
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, considered them, however, insufficient: “We will continue to insist on a total embargo on Russian oil and gas, on removing from SWIFT [el sistema de pagos interbancarios] to all Russian banks […] “I hope that we will not again be faced with a situation where in order to intensify sanctions pressure we need atrocities like Bucha to be revealed.”
It is the second visit by community representatives, after the one made last week by the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, who also met with Zelenski. On March 15, when the situation around kyiv was more dangerous, the Polish prime ministers, Mateusz Morawiecki, traveled with his deputy prime minister and leader of the ultra-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski; from Slovenia, Janez Jansa, and from the Czech Republic, Petr Fiala, in an initiative from which the European Commission distanced itself.
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