Pedro Sánchez begins Spain's Presidency of the EU Council in Kyiv

President's News - 2023.7.1

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Kyiv (Ukraine)

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, wanted the first act of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU to be held in Kyiv, thus symbolising the European Union's unwavering support for Ukraine in all areas: military, humanitarian and economic.

This is the third visit the President of the Government of Spain has made to Ukraine since Putin's war began, and the second time he has addressed the Ukrainian people from their parliament.

The President of the Government of Spain met with President Zelenskyy to address various issues, both bilaterally and from the perspective of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. The two leaders adopted a Joint Declaration in which Ukraine thanks Spain for its support in all areas, and in which our country reiterates its firm commitment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. This Declaration also underlines the strong commitment of both countries to bring those responsible for war crimes and other serious crimes committed in Ukraine to justice, and to support the establishment of appropriate justice mechanisms to ensure accountability.

With regard to the bilateral relationship between Spain and Ukraine, President Sánchez recalled after the meeting that our country will soon send new heavy equipment, including four Leopard tanks, as well as armoured vehicles. "In addition, we are about to deliver a field hospital with surgical capacity", said Pedro Sánchez.

Joint press conference between Pedro Sánchez and the President of Ukraine | Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

In terms of health care, Spain has provided assistance to more than 650 Ukrainian citizens in recent months, many of them wounded in combat or victims of serious illnesses. Last week, Spain also pledged 24 tonnes of humanitarian aid to deal with the disastrous consequences of the criminal destruction of the Kakhovka dam. "We will contribute another 7 million euros to build shelters in Ukrainian schools, buy portable incubators and support victims of sexual violence", said President Sánchez. He also told President Zelenskyy that Spain has decided to allocate a further 55 million euros to the reconstruction of Ukraine. Of this, 51 million will be channelled through the World Bank Group and will focus on helping to finance small and medium-sized companies in Ukraine, while 4 million euros, channelled through the United Nations Development Programme, will go towards equipping Ukrainian schools with green and sustainable energy systems.

Spain has continued to provide assistance in all areas. In this context, it has taken in 175,000 Ukrainian refugees since Russia began this war, and President Sánchez recalled that these families have received all the necessary support, both in terms of health and in areas such as education.

In the framework of the rotating Presidency of the European Council, which began today, President Sánchez recalled that the eleventh package of sanctions against Russia has already been adopted, and explained that the European Union is maintaining a coordinated effort to cover Ukraine's defence needs through the European Peace Fund, a tool with a financial ceiling that - since the decision was adopted this week at the European Council - now amounts to more than 12 billion euros.

The President of the Government of Spain emphasised that by 2023, Europe will provide 18 billion euros in financial assistance so that Ukraine can continue to provide basic services to its citizens.

He also underlined the strong international support for the UN General Assembly resolutions. "A broad international majority condemns Russian aggression and false annexations", stressed President Sánchez, recalling the importance of continuing to dedicate efforts to reach out to other regions and listen to the concerns of the countries most exposed to the consequences of war, such as food and energy security.

Speech by the President of the Government of Spain in the Ukrainian Parliament: "Spain weeps with you and condemns every Russian attack".

In his address to the Verkhovna Rada, Pedro Sánchez condemned the latest barbaric acts perpetrated by Russia in Ukraine and saluted the determination of the Ukrainian people. "What I see in your eyes, here and now, is determination, strength and courage", said the President of the Government of Spain. "What I see is a whole country that refuses to be subjugated, and that fights for its independence with immense dignity", he emphasised.

Speech by Pedro Sánchez in the Ukrainian Parliament | Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

On behalf of Spain, the President of the Government of Spain conveyed to the Plenary his support for those who today continue to lose their loved ones in Ukraine. "Spain weeps with you and condemns every Russian attack on Ukrainian civilian targets", he said, lamenting that this week's shelling of Kramatorsk seriously injured Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina. "She wanted to document the tragedy, to collect the testimonies of the infamy, the lost heritage, the broken lives, the crimes committed", said President Sánchez. "We need more women like her to write history".

President Sánchez also referred to the process of Ukraine's accession to the European Union, stressing that this also represents an opportunity to modernise the country's economic structures and regulatory framework. These reforms, he stressed, "will make governance and the economy better and more transparent, and will boost international trust and closeness". He also congratulated the Parliament on the positive assessment of the reforms required by the European Commission last week and encouraged them to continue their efforts in this direction. "You are not Europeans due to geographical imperative. You are so because of your moral and spiritual commitment", stressed the President of the Government of Spain.

With regard to the peace process in Ukraine, President Sánchez reiterated to the Rada his support for Zelenskyy's Peace Plan, recalling that it is in line with the United Nations Charter. "Only Ukraine can set the terms and timing of peace negotiations", he stated. He also addressed the reconstruction of a country now destroyed, and conveyed the EU's commitment to this process to them.

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