Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke on Sunday on phone with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. She will participate in the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm-al Shekh, Egypt, on Monday and Tuesday.
The main focus of the conversation was on ensuring financial support for Ukraine in the months ahead. Von der Leyen informed Zelensky that she this week would propose a financial package from the EU of up to € 1.5 billion a month, totalling up to EUR 18 billion, which would contribute significantly to cover Ukraine's financing needs for 2023.
The support is in the form of highly concessional long-term loans, with coverage of the interest costs. A concessional loan is a loan made on more favourable terms than the borrower could obtain in the financial market
However, the EU financial package would need to be matched by similar support from other major donors. President von der Leyen also confirmed ongoing work by the EU to continue to provide immediate humanitarian support to Ukraine, particularly over the winter. She twitted that, “The EU will be at Ukraine’s side for as long as it takes”.
The leaders also discussed the importance of ensuring Ukraine's agricultural exports can reach the world. In addition to full support for the UN's efforts to reach agreement with Russia on the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the leaders also discussed plans to expand the capacities of the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes.
Finally, the leaders discussed strengthening sanctions, as well as the role played by Iran's support for Russia's aggression and how to respond. Iran’s minister of foreign affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, admitted for the first times on Saturday that Iran has delivered drones to Russia but claimed that it had happened before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
President Zelensky responded that, “If Iran continues to lie about the obvious, it means the world will make even more efforts to investigate the terrorist cooperation between the Russian and Iranian regimes and what Russia pays Iran for such cooperation.” He said that Kyiv had downed 11 Iranian-made drones on Friday alone.
The Brussels Times