The European Union’s foreign ministers and top diplomat, Josep Borrell, will convene on Monday for a special meeting with Ukraine’s counterpart. However, rather than Dmytro Kuleba traveling to Brussels or joining remotely, this time they have traveled to Ukraine.
On Monday, Borrell stated that a significant conference of European Union foreign ministers is taking place in Ukraine, a country seeking membership in the EU. The purpose of the meeting is to demonstrate our unity and backing for the citizens of Ukraine.
According to Kuleba in a phone call with POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook, the upcoming visit of the Foreign Affairs Council to Ukraine is a clear indication of Ukraine’s progress towards EU accession.
“The message is that Ukraine is becoming a member of the European Union, the process is taking place right as we speak and hold these meetings,” Kuleba added, underlining that he expects “to open accession talks by the end of the year.”
It is possible that the discussions between the EU and Ukraine on Monday will produce concrete outcomes. Specifically, Kuleba referenced the European Peace Facility, which provides funding for weapons to support Ukraine in its defense against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s all-out invasion. This facility is in urgent need of replenishment.
For several months, Hungary has prevented the release of the next payment of €500 million. However, Kyiv has announced that an agreement has been reached.
Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary, obstructed aid in order to pressure Kyiv into removing a Hungarian bank from a list of alleged supporters of the war. The list, created by Ukraine, includes OTP – the largest commercial bank in Hungary with a large customer base in Russia. OTP has also been accused of acknowledging the self-proclaimed people’s republics in Donetsk and Luhansk, which are currently occupied by Ukraine.
According to officials who spoke with Brussels Playbook, Kyiv and Budapest are negotiating a potential agreement in which the bank would alter its operations. In return, Hungary would be taken off the list, allowing for the release of €500 million in EU military aid for Ukraine.
The Ukrainian National Agency on Corruption Prevention stated on Friday that it had temporarily taken OTP off the list. A Ukrainian official informed Monday’s Playbook that the bank is no longer on the list and they have reached an agreement for Hungary to lift its veto.
Kuleba emphasized the EU’s recent efforts to enhance ammunition manufacturing, with the goal of expanding its ability to supply ammunition in order to match Russia’s military capabilities. He expressed anticipation for this development.
Kuleba expressed his desire for his EU counterparts to deliberate on implementing additional sanctions against Russia, with the intention of hindering Moscow’s capacity to produce weapons.
“The EU has the potential to assist Ukraine in acquiring essential weaponry and to limit Russia’s ability to manufacture their own weapons,” he stated. However, in order to decrease Russia’s production of tanks, drones, missiles, and other weapons, stricter sanctions must be implemented.