Russia -Ukraine War : EU to continue supporting Ukraine, says Ursula von der Leyen

EU to continue supporting Ukraine: Ursula von der Leyen

Davos: As the war in Ukraine nears its one-year mark, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday said Europe will continue to stand with the Ukrainian people.       She further said Ukraine is now a candidate country to access the European Union.

In a special address at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023 here, she also said the European Union is scaling up its strategies to meet the net-zero climate goals.   “For one year now Ukraine has stunned the world. On that fatal February morning, many predicted that Kyiv would fall in a matter of days, but this did not account for the morale and physical courage of the Ukrainian people,” she said.       Addressing First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska, who was present in the room, she said, “You and your people have resisted the Russian invasion and pushed back against the aggressor against all odds.” “Not even Russia’s severest attacks on civilians that you have described or the brutal winter have shaken your resolve. In this last year, your country has moved the world and has inspired Europe and I can assure you that Europe will always stand with you,” she added. The EU leader further said many doubted whether the European support would be so unwavering, but today Ukraine is a candidate country to access the European Union. “European countries are providing more and more critical weapons to Ukraine. We are hosting around four million Ukrainians in our cities, our homes and our schools.

“We have put in place the strongest sanctions ever, which leave the Russian economy facing a decade of regression and its industry starved of any modern and critical technologies. There will be no impunity for these Russian crimes,” she added. “And there will be no letup in our steadfast help for Ukraine and in preparing for the long-term efforts of reconstruction. And to reaffirm that support, we announced yesterday that the European Commission is delivering 3 billion euro of financial support. This is the first tranche of our 18 billion euro support package for 2023, the largest ever micro-financial assistance to a third country,” she added.

The EU leader said a year ago, Europe had a massive dependency on Russian fossil fuels, built over decades.        “This made us vulnerable to supply squeezes, price hikes and, of course, vulnerable to Vladimir Putin’s market manipulation. In less than a year, Europe has overcome this dangerous dependency. We have replaced 80 per cent of Russian pipeline gas. In parallel, we have filled our storage,” she said.

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