Russian-Ukrainian war: EU, UK to provide military aid to Ukraine

NATO partners are providing Ukraine with air-defense missiles and anti-tank weapons.

 State flags of Ukraine, European Union and US flutter in central Kyiv, Ukraine December 6, 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS/GLEB GARANICH)
State flags of Ukraine, European Union and US flutter in central Kyiv, Ukraine December 6, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS/GLEB GARANICH)

The European Union will provide weapons and fighter jets worth 450 million euro (1.6 billion NIS) to Ukraine to fight against the Russian invasion, EU's Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said during a press conference on Sunday. "We are not talking just about ammunition; we are providing the most important arms to go to war," said Borrell.

Borell warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to place Russia's nuclear deterrence forces on alert was a "gigantic irresponsibility," saying "he told us whoever will interfere in our attack to Ukraine, whoever could have the idea of supporting Ukrainians will suffer an attack as they have never suffered or imagined. This is a reference to the use of nuclear weapons."

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Zelensky that the UK was sending military support to Ukraine and committed to sending more in the coming days.

In an op-ed for The Guardian, Borrell stated that Russia embarks on "disinformation campaigns and information manipulation" and that "his aggression is taking innocent lives, crushing people’s wish to live in peace," stating that Russia must stop all military operations and withdraw from Ukrainian territory.

NATO partners are providing Ukraine with air-defense missiles and anti-tank weapons, NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg said in a tweet on Monday, adding that he had held another phone conversation with Ukraine's president earlier.

The Kremlin on Monday accused the European Union of hostile behavior towards Russia, saying weapons supplies to Ukraine were dangerous and destabilizing and proved that Russia was right in its efforts to demilitarize its neighbor.

 Ukrainian soldiers walk at Kyiv central train station, Ukraine, February 25, 2022 (credit: UMIT BEKTAS/REUTERS) Ukrainian soldiers walk at Kyiv central train station, Ukraine, February 25, 2022 (credit: UMIT BEKTAS/REUTERS)

The European Union's energy policy chief said on Monday she expected ministers from EU countries to back a proposal for Ukraine's electricity grid to be synchronized with the European network as soon as possible.

"I expect that energy ministers will support the emergency synchronization of Ukraine's power grid with the European grid as soon as possible," EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson said on her arrival to a meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels.

Ukraine has started testing its power grid in a step to link it to a European network and decouple from a grid linked to Russia, which invaded the country on Thursday.

The West has stepped up arms supplies to Ukraine in order to help it defend against a Russian invasion that Moscow calls a "special military operation" aimed at protecting civilians.

British defense minister Ben Wallace said on Monday that he does not expect Putin to use nuclear weapons in his pursuit of Ukraine. "What we shouldn't really forget is that this is a big attempt to distract away from his troubles in Ukraine by just deploying into the sort of media space these phrases."

"We should be worried that a state like Russia believes that the rules don't apply to them, whether that is invading Ukraine or using nerve agent in Salisbury, but fundamentally a deterrent is what it is, a deterrent," Wallace told Times Radio.

"As much as he might be ambitious for Ukraine, I don't think he wants to go into that space."

European Commission President Ursula von der Leye told Euronews on Sunday that Ukraine is "one of us and we want them in the European Union," adding that this is a process that will take time.

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Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky told Johnson by telephone on Sunday that the next 24 hours are crucial for Ukraine, a Downing Street spokesperson said.

Johnson said the UK and its allies would do everything possible to guarantee that defensive aid reached Ukraine, the spokesperson said in a statement.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday that the escalation of Russia's military operations in Ukraine was leading to rising human rights violations and that the global body was monitoring them with teams on the ground.

"The escalation of military operations by the Russian Federation in Ukraine is leading to escalating human rights violations," Guterres said in a recorded speech at the opening of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. "We must show all people in Ukraine that we stand by them in their time of need."

Finland will send weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, Prime Minister Sanna Marin told reporters on Monday.

The shipment will include 2,500 assault rifles, 150,000 bullets, 1,500 anti-tank weapons and 70,000 food packages, Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen added.

Hungary will not send troops or weapons to Ukraine and will not allow lethal weapons to transit its territory in order to keep the country safe, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Monday during a visit to Kosovo.

"The reason for making this decision is that such deliveries might become targets of hostile military action and ... we have to ensure the security of Hungary ... that we are not getting involved in that war," Szijjarto said after meeting Kosovo Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla.