European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels on Monday to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The foreign ministers decided to give the green light to increase arms aid to Ukraine.
“We had a very unanimous discussion on increasing the resources of the European Peace Fund,” the Foreign Minister who represented Finland at the meeting Pekka Haavisto (green) said.
In February, the EU made history by providing armed support for the first time through the European Peace Facility.
The package includes € 450 million in arms aid and € 50 million in support for non-lethal material. Aid to Ukraine is now set to double to a billion euros. The EU Military Staff coordinates the delivery of aid.
The European Peace Facility is an instrument outside the EU budget designed to prevent conflicts and build peace. The size of the fund is just over EUR 5 billion, or about 20% of which has been used since this decision.
How much of the fund’s capital can still be used to help Ukraine?
“It probably doesn’t have a clear ceiling. We said that using the peace fund for this purpose has been a very forward-looking decision for the EU. The purchases that Ukraine will be able to make thanks to this have been vital purchases for Ukraine, ”Haavisto said.
A fifth package of sanctions is being prepared
The EU is preparing its fifth package of sanctions against Russia. The foreign ministers do not yet want to comment on the details of the next package.
The issue of a ban on imports of Russian energy is known to divide member states. The Baltic countries and Poland support it, Germany opposes it.
“The issues of oil and natural gas arose, and at the same time, of course, the extent to which different countries are dependent on energy from Russia. Finland’s line has been that it does not make sense to put any EU country in deep trouble through the EU’s own decisions, ”Haavisto said.
He believes that the EU needs to think very carefully about the country-specific implications of the decisions. Ministers requested such an analysis from the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrellilta.
Seven million Ukrainians are already on the move
According to Haavisto, the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the city of Mariupol was highlighted in the speeches of the foreign ministers.
“It would seem that the Russian military technology is that the cities are not necessarily invaded, but that the cities are bombed with artillery and missiles so that the humanitarian situation inside becomes unsustainable,” Haavisto said.
Attempts to open humanitarian corridors have been seen in recent days, he said. The opening has been successful in some places, but not in all.
The foreign ministers also discussed that the refugee situation has begun to escalate in Poland and Ukraine’s neighboring countries. More than three million Ukrainian refugees have already arrived in Poland.
“In total, estimates are currently reaching somewhere over seven million mobile people. The flow of refugees is increasing day by day, ”Haavisto said.
In the speeches of the foreign ministers, it was pointed out that the first people to leave Ukraine are people with a car and relatives in EU countries or in Ukraine’s neighboring countries.
“Now those who have to resort to other rides and who may not have a safety net are starting to come across the border. The UN and the Red Cross have a key role to play in this, and they need to be even more effective in helping the administrations of Poland and Ukraine’s neighboring countries, ”says Haavisto.
In addition to the foreign ministers, EU defense ministers will meet in Brussels on Monday. The foreign and defense ministers are currently holding a joint meeting to discuss the future of the EU’s common defense policy, the strategic compass. It is due to be adopted later this week at the EU summit.
“From Finland’s point of view, the strategic compass is an ambitious and concrete document,” Haavisto said.
In addition to Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, the Minister of Defense will be present from Finland Antti Kaikkonen (middle).