EU foreign ministers meet on Ukraine aid, Hamas sanctions

Russians sanctioned over Navalny death

The EU foreign ministers also agreed to impose sanctions on 30 Russian officials over the death of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in an Arctic prison last month.

“We agreed to sanctions on those responsible for the murder of Alexei Navalny,” Borrell said following the meeting.

Again following in the footsteps of the UK and the US, the EU said it would impose travel bans and asset freezes on the prison officials who it considers responsible for the opposition figure’s death.

Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, had called for President Vladimir Putin — who was declared the overwhelming and unsurprising winner in Sunday’s election — to no longer be considered the legitimate leader of Russia, a step that the EU was not willing to take.

Belarus and Gaza also on agenda

The foreign ministers, together with their Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, who participated over video conference, addressed the issue of Russia’s continuing aggression against Ukraine.

Considering the ongoing support of Belarus for Russia, the ministers were expected to discuss the latest developments in Russia’s neighboring country, particularly the deteriorating human rights situation.

The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gazawas also high on the agenda.

EU allocates €5 billion to support Ukraine militarily

Top diplomats representing the EU’s 27 countries agreed to increase its support to Ukrainian armed forces by €5 billion (around $5.45 billion) under the European Pace Facility (EPF) for military assistance to Ukraine in 2024.

For this purpose, they have set up a special Ukraine Assistance Fund (UAF) within EPF, the European Council said in a statement. The newly established fund will allow the EU to further support the evolving needs of the Ukrainian military through the provision of both lethal and non-lethal military equipment and training, it added.

“With the fund, we will continue to support Ukraine defend itself from Russia’s war of aggression with whatever it takes and for as long as we need to,” EU’s foreign policy chief Borrell said.

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