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Statement by President von der Leyen at the joint press conference with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy


Dear Volodymyr,

Thank you for hosting my fellow leaders and me here in Kyiv. Ten years since Russia began its assault on your sovereignty, and two years to the day since the start of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Today marks a grim anniversary. But it is also the moment to recognise the extraordinary power of resistance of the Ukrainian people. From the feats of valour and bravery of Ukrainian soldiers beating back the invader to the millions of small everyday actions by citizens to support the war effort. From farmers stealing Russian tanks with their tractors to the Ghost of Kyiv keeping the skies safe over your capital. From the defiance on Snake Island to the sinking of the Moskva. You, Ukrainians, have shown the world your courage, and that your fight for freedom matters. You have regained half of the land they occupied and pushed them back on the Black Sea. These are remarkable achievements, and we pay tribute to you. You who fight for the security of our entire continent. This is why you have the entire European Union behind you. More than ever, we stand firmly by Ukraine, financially, economically, militarily and most of all morally, until your country is finally free.

I want to emphasise four points. First, we have now our EUR 50 billion Ukraine Facility. This is on top of EUR 88 billion that we have delivered so far since the start of the war. The first payment of EUR 4.5 billion will come in March. Then we will continue with a steady stream of support over the next four years. This will back your reform and investment roadmap, the Ukraine Plan. We are also providing additional sources of revenues to Ukraine, like the solidarity lanes. They have generated trade worth EUR 125 billion so far between Ukraine, the European Union and the rest of the world. We are on track to extend for another year our special trade measures while ensuring the stability of our Single Market. And we have agreed to set aside the earnings of immobilised Russian assets. This is a major step forward, thanks to the Belgian Presidency, thank you very much, Alexander. Because we are committed to making Russia pay the price of its war of destruction.

This brings me to my second point, our hard-biting sanctions against Russia. Two years ago, the European Union was Russia’s most important trading partner. Since then, total imports from Russia to the European Union have dropped by more than EUR 100 billion. Our exports to Russia have been slashed by more than EUR 50 billion. Russia has been cut off western advanced technologies, innovation and investments. And this week, we have doubled down on our sanctions, with our 13th package with over 160 additional military companies listed and another big sweep across the board, from Putin’s propagandists to criminals deporting children and companies in the Kremlin’s orbit. We have reached a total of 2000 listings. We keep the pressure high on Putin and his regime. And in parallel, we keep on tightening the screws on circumvention with criminal charges for those who bypass our sanctions.

My third point, as Russia is intensifying its vicious attacks on your country, we are also doubling down on our military support. We have already delivered EUR 28 billion in military assistance. And we are working to set up the Ukraine Assistance Fund. This will bring another EUR 5 billion for joint European procurement of the weapons you need. In parallel, the European defence industry is stepping up a gear, increasing its production capacity for ammunition by 40%. We have now already delivered more than half a million of ammunition rounds. And we will reach over one million rounds before the end of the year. Finally, we keep on training the brave Ukrainian armed forces with 60,000 soldiers trained by this summer.

Now, looking forward to the future, Ukraine must have the means to defend itself today. But also for tomorrow, Ukraine needs the capabilities to deter future attacks by Russia. This is crucial for your security, and of course for the security of Europe as a whole. So we want to strengthen Ukraine’s defence capabilities as part of our own. This is why we have involved you so closely in our new Defence Industrial Base Strategy. We will present it in three weeks. It is a first step, towards integrating Ukraine in our European defence programmes. At the same time, we are learning from you and your experience on the battlefield. To intensify this exchange, we will open a Defence Innovation Office, here in Kyiv. Finally, we keep on working on security commitments, as we have just heard, for Ukraine, all in close cooperation with G7 partners. Of course, the best security guarantee will be the membership in the European Union.

This brings me to my fourth point, your accession path. We have started the screening process, with a very busy schedule of meetings. I encourage you – and I know you are doing it – to keep delivering on the Commission’s recommendations. For our part, we, the Commission, will submit the negotiating framework in mid-March.

Dear Volodymyr,

Our visit today underlines our unwavering solidarity with Ukraine today, tomorrow, and in the long run. Your country has become a global symbol of resistance in this noble fight for freedom.

We remain at your side.

Slava Ukraini.


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