EU, NATO providing defensive weapons to UkraineReading Time: 2 minutes
As Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, was heavily bombarded by Russian forces on Monday, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced that EU defence ministers would discuss how the bloc would deliver EUR 500 million worth of defensive weapons to Ukraine. He said, that while Kyiv was resisting and Russian forces were seeing many casualties, Europe needed to provide munitions, high-calibre guns and anti-tank equipment to help Ukrainian forces repel Russian attacks. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said member states were “stepping up” their support for Ukraine by providing Kyiv with air-defence missiles and anti-tank weapons.
But while Slovenia’s Defence Minister Matej Tonin said on Monday that Slovenia had sent rifles, ammunition and helmets to Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary insisted his country would not be sending weapons to Ukraine, as a security body meeting had decided against it. “Naturally, we’re providing humanitarian aid,” he added.
Also on Monday, Ukraine and Russia held a first round of high-level talks at the Ukraine-Belarus border on Monday, with representatives speaking for several hours. Although no details of their discussions emerged, Al Jazeera reports that the two sides agreed to continue negotiating.
In a symbolic measure, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked for fast-track Ukraine’s EU membership. In a video on social media he explained, “Our goal is to be with all Europeans and, most importantly, to be equal. I’m sure that’s fair. I am sure we deserve it.” The Guardian reported that the European parliament would adopt a resolution on Tuesday towards Ukraine’s EU candidate status.
International sport organisations also began reacting to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Monday, with the International Olympic Committee recommending that international sport federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from participating in events. Football organisations FIFA and UEFA also suspended Russia’s participation from all competitions today, and UEFA ended it’s long-term sponsorship deal with Gazprom.
US and Western nations continued to levy an array of sanctions on Moscow to undermine the Russian economy. Traditionally neutral, Switzerland also said it would adopt all of the sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia.