Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

Münster, 3.11.2022

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Good afternoon,

[I am] very happy to be in this historical city of Münster (Germany), where the Peace of Westfalia was signed. It is part of our common European history.

[It is] good to be here in a moment in which we talk more about war than peace. I am coming from Berlin, and, in Berlin, we have been discussing the Western Balkans situation.

I think there are two words that summarise what has to happen in the Western Balkans: one is resilience, and another is reconciliation. We have to avoid Russia meddling in the Western Balkans’ affairs. We do not have to give any excuse for Russia to interfere in the political and economic life of the Western Balkans because the future of the Western Balkans is anchored in the European Union.

There are good news: yesterday, the United Nations – unanimously – renewed the mandate of our military [Operation] EUFOR ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This military mission shows the strong commitment of the European Union to keep peace in the Western Balkans, and to conduct and accompany these countries in the European path, especially, in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the [Operation] EUFOR ALTHEA is being deployed.

So, let’s work to increase the resilience of the Western Balkans both from the economic point of view, political stability and resilience against disinformation, cyberattacks and hybrid threats. Secondly, to work with them in order to overcome the legacy of the past and to build reconciliation among them.

Today, here, we have been talking about Ukraine, about the aggression – the war of aggression of Russia against Ukraine.

Putin’s Russia is destroying Ukraine: they cannot occupy it, they cannot win militarily in the battlefield, they cannot win the war.

They are destroying the country systematically. They are bombing, destroying civilian infrastructure. Millions of Ukrainians no longer have access to electricity, and what Putin is willing to do is to put the country in the darkness in the wintertime.

This is a war crime. We do not need to talk about nuclear threats. Using conventional arms, they are destroying a country, killing civilians, trying to break down the morale of the Ukrainians.

That is why we have to continue supporting Ukraine. [We have to] continue supporting [them], providing arms to defend themselves, to bring economic and financial support, and reaching out [to] the whole world in order to explain which are the causes and the consequences of this war.

Food and fertilisers are not under the European Union’s sanctions. It is not [because of] our sanctions that there is a scarcity of food in the world. It is because of the blockade of Russia of the exports of grain from Ukraine. It is good news that Russia has decided to go back to the deal brokered by the United Nations and Türkiye. But for many weeks and months, Ukrainian grain was not exported. You can count it on the number of people suffering [from] hunger.

So, we have to reach out to the international community. We have to continue implementing the sanctions against the Russian economy. We have to support Ukraine’s military, as we are doing. The European Union has already allocated €22 billion to support Ukraine – €22 billion. And I am not counting in this figure the military support provided bilaterally by Member States. I am only counting €3 billion from the European Peace Facility (EPF) and €19 billion are coming from European Union and Member States to support financially, economically Ukraine: providing humanitarian support, providing materials for Ukrainians to be able to support the winter.

The winter is coming, and Putin is waiting for the “General Winter” to come and support the Russian army. Now, more than ever, we have to support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. They are fighting, defending their country and we have the moral duty to support them.

Thank you.

Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-232763

Source – EEAS

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