During a visit to the capital of the Czech Republic, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, agreed on the next steps in the country’s cooperation with the European Union.
The minister stated this while commenting on the outcome of his meetings in Prague at Ukrinform’s request.
“The meeting was informal, so no decisions were made as such. I can say that I will be satisfied when I see the result. But it was an important opportunity to clarify Ukraine’s position, better feel and understand that of individual countries and agree on some specific things and next steps – both in terms of weapons and sanctions, which will soon yield a result,” the minister concluded.
Kuleba took part in an informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers, where the issue of sanctions, in particular, as regards visas for Russian citizens, was on top agenda. According to the foreign minister, he put forward two points, which he hopes will be taken into account by his EU counterparts.
Firstly, Ukraine believes EU countries should grant only two types of visas to Russian citizens: humanitarian ones (when the purpose of the trip is medical treatment, reunification with family, etc.) and those issued on political grounds (to dissidents, opposition figures, journalists, or rights defenders – people who clearly stand the aggressive policy pursued by President Vladimir Putin).
The second point is that Ukraine will not accept any more half-measures.
“The time has come when the age of peace in the EU is over, and along with is the age of half-measures. Half-measures in relation to Russia are exactly what led to the full-scale aggression on February 24. We must be principled and tough, and make tough decisions,” Kuleba told journalists.
He described the agreement reached in Prague precisely as “half-measure.” The issue of not letting in Russians who support the war, but go to European capitals to shop and humiliate Europeans in this way, is a matter of self-respect of European countries, said the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.
“Until Russians learn to respect state borders, they should not be able to cross them. Let them stay at home and enjoy Russia – we see it as a fair view,” Kuleba said, formulating his position.
The head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that he also raised the issue of the importance of the immediate introduction of the eighth package of Russia sanctions. In his opinion, the package should include, in particular, the disconnection of all Russian banks from SWIFT, energy embargo, and additional financial sanctions – measures that will actually deliver a heavy blow to the Russian economy.
Kuleba emphasized that Ukraine demands that sanctions be imposed on Rosatom.
“The Russian army and Rosatom seized the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, while Rosatom is still beyond sanctions,” the diplomat pointed out, calling it a “very strange situation.”
The Ukrainian minister recalled that the IAEA mission was on its way to the ZNPP, and expressed hope that it would succeed, because to this end, the mission will have to actually cross the front line.
The issue of continued supplies of military equipment and ammunition was also discussed both bilaterally and within the framework of the European Peace Facility mechanism.
The head of the Ukrainian diplomatic service admitted that his day always begins with one question: where and when he can get more weapons for Ukraine. Kuleba says he is generally satisfied with certain aspects of his negotiations in Prague regarding arms supplies. At the same time, he recalled that the key problem is time: Ukraine needs weapons now, while partner states need time to resolve these issues.
The meeting in Prague was an informal one. Foreign ministers return to their capitals, where the relevant decisions are yet to be made.