Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) EU Council President Charles Michel announced more sanctions against Russia at the Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen in Ukraine.
He praised Ukraine and Ukrainians at the summit, stressing that the EU has been supporting the country since the start of the war, the EU Council pointed out in a statement on Saturday.
“Last March we clearly stated that Ukraine belongs to our European family,” Michel noted and added “and at our last European Council meeting in June, we kept our word, and we agreed to grant candidate status to Ukraine.”
He reminded that the bloc agreed to provide 500 million euro to strengthen Ukraine’s military earlier this month and stressed that the move brings the total amount to 2.5 billion euro.
Michel added that the EU is “continuing to ramp up the pressure on Russia” and reminded that it imposed additional sanctions against Moscow last week.
He pledged to continue providing financial support to Ukraine, noting that the EU Council is planning a new package of “macro-financial assistance of up to 9 billion euro.” Michel expressed belief that this is not enough and announced more spending in this direction.
He reminded that the EU liberalised trade with Ukraine and is committed to financing reconstruction of the country.
Michel stressed the importance of never forgetting the human cost of the war in Ukraine, pointing out that millions have been displaced and adding that the EU is doing its best to take in and support Ukrainian refugees.
Global food supply at risk
He warned that the war is threatening global food supplies as Russian blockade of the Black Sea is preventing Ukraine from exporting its grain and the conflict is hampering planting and harvesting.
“The EU has no sanctions on the agricultural sector in Russia, and it’s why we welcome yesterday’s agreement under the auspices of the United Nations to unblock the Black Sea for exports of grains and fertilisers,” Michel added.
He reiterated that the EU stands with Ukraine and Ukrainians, and expressed belief that “Ukraine will emerge stronger, freer and more prosperous” from the conflict.
Michel concluded that the bloc will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.