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EU leaders convening meeting with Ukrainian president attending

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EU leaders to discuss more military support for Ukraine, further sanctions on Russia at ‘decisive’ summit

EU leaders summit brings a “decisive day for Europe” where the bloc can show more support for Ukraine, the president of the European Council said.

On the way to the meeting, Charles Michel asserted that “it is very important to increase our efforts to support Ukraine with military means on one hand, and with political support on the other.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will also attend the meeting for the first time in person after last year he participated in EU leaders’ summits six times by video link.

Zelenskyy, who had talks last night in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, arrived in Brussels with Macron on the French presidential aircraft accompanied by the country’s air force.

Irish Taoiseach (premier) Leo Varadkar called the meeting an “opportunity for Europeans to say that we stand 100% behind Ukraine,” and praised the efforts of the Ukrainian government to introduce the necessary reforms for EU accession.

The EU heads of state and government will discuss plans for further military support for Ukraine.

According to Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, the EU should set up a common procurement system to buy arms and military equipment for Ukraine.

“Maybe we could use a similar mechanism like we’re dealing with the vaccines,” she told reporters ahead of the summit.

“The European countries will provide funds, European Commission will procure, and then it will be sent directly to Ukraine,” she explained, adding that the “price goes up with every delay, with every hesitation.”

The leaders will also discuss how to use the €300 billion ($322 billion) worth of Russian assets frozen due to sanctions.

They are also expected to review further restrictive measures against Moscow since the bloc plans to impose a 10th round of sanctions before the first anniversary of the Russian invasion.

As Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda revealed, the bloc is considering extending EU sanctions to new companies, such as Russian state nuclear energy firm Rosatom as well as items such as diamonds.

Since the beginning of Russia’s war against Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, the EU and its member states have provided €50 billion in direct support to Ukraine, including more than €12 billion in military aid.

The EU has imposed nine sanctions packages on Russia, targeting, among others, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, banning gold, oil and coal imports and the export of luxury goods and high-tech technology, as well as excluding Russian and Belarusian banks from the SWIFT international payment system.

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