RIGA - The decision to provide one million artillery shells marks the long-term and planned military assistance of the European Union (EU) to Ukraine, stressed Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (JV), who participated in the meeting of EU heads of state and government on Friday in Brussels.
As LETA was informed by the Prime Minister's press secretary Sandris Sabajevs, the European Council decided on further support for Ukraine, further strengthening of sanctions against Russia, as well as discussed the economic situation in the EU and foreign trade issues.
The European Council decided to ensure the delivery of one million artillery rounds to Ukraine over the next 12 months. Karins emphasized that the adopted EU decision is essential, as it provides support to Ukraine and at the same time facilitates the capacity building of the EU military industry, including opening opportunities for the development of the Latvian defense industry.
In the discussions of EU leaders, the Prime Minister emphasized the need to continue political, economic and diplomatic pressure on Russia. He stated that the development and adoption of further sanctions against Russia is expected. In Karins' opinion, it is necessary to effectively implement the already adopted sanctions and prevent their circumvention.
In addition, the Prime Minister pointed out the importance of the recently issued warrants of the International Criminal Court for the arrest of the Russian president and his representative in matters of children's rights. It is the first step towards bringing Russia's top officials to justice. Karins emphasized that the "ad hoc" international tribunal should be established through a UN process. According to the Prime Minister, this is the most appropriate solution for the investigation and trial of the crime of aggression against Ukraine.
Although Ukraine's progress towards the EU was not the central topic of the European Council, the Prime Minister expressed strong support for Ukraine's integration into the EU. He pointed out that EU, following the recommendations of the European Commission, should start accession negotiations with Ukraine without delay.
A significant part of the discussions at the European Council was devoted to how to strengthen the competitiveness of the EU and its member states. The Prime Minister paid special attention to the necessary investments in research and production development with high added value. Also, Karins pointed out that the EU must continue to implement an open and ambitious trade policy - mutually beneficial trade is essential to ensure access to critical raw materials and outlets for EU products.
Karins also participated in the meeting of the leaders of the eurozone, the Eurosummit, in which, with the participation of the head of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, a discussion was held on the economic and financial affairs of the EU. In the discussion, the Prime Minister emphasized that the work on the creation of the Banking Union and the Capital Market Union, which is an important tool for improving the private investment environment in the EU, must be completed.