Foreign affairs minister João Gomes Cravinho

Portuguese embassy will be returning to Kyiv within weeks, vows foreign affairs minister

3rd flight of Portuguese military equipment on its way to Ukraine “soon”

Upbeat today as he left a meeting of foreign affairs counterparts in Luxembourg, Portugal’s head of diplomacy João Gomes Cravinho said Portugal has decided to resume diplomatic activities in Kyiv, and that its embassy in the Ukrainian capital would be back to full function “as soon as the situation of safety permits, probably in a few weeks”.

The assertions come on the day that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said Russia fully intends to take Kyiv and “all other cities” in Ukraine – and at a moment when Russian foreign affairs minister Sergei Lavrov has intimated Russian objectives in the invasion have extended.

“Our special military operation aims to put an end to the unfettered expansions and unfettered course towards total domination of the US and other Western states under it on the international arena,” he said.

Finland and Sweden have already been warned that their interests in joining NATO has not gone down well in Moscow. 

The next few weeks will be decisive (see below).

It is understood Russia’s president Vladimir Putin wants ‘success’ on his hands by May 9 – the day Russia traditionally commemorates the fall of the Nazis in World War II with a Victory Day parade.

Portugal’s impetus however for insisting its embassy will be returning to Kyiv ‘soon’ follows the visit last week to Ukraine’s capital by European Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen, in the company of various dignitaries, including Europe’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.

Borrell said at the time “with this visit the European Union is returning back to Kyiv. I mean this literally: our head of delegation is back here so we can work even more directly and more closely with Ukrainian authorities.”

As Gomes Cravinho reiterated today, there is “unanimity between the countries of the EU” to stand as a bloc against the invasion.

“Portugal will continue to give military support”, he said. “Two flights of equipment have already been sent, and a third will be going shortly…”

Ukraine’s minister for foreign affairs Dmytro Kuleba told a meeting of NATO foreign affairs ministers in Brussels last week that Ukraine needs three things to win against Russia’s aggression: “weapons, weapons and weapons”.

“Portugal will be responding to minister Kuleba’s request”, pledged Gomes Cravinho. “We don’t have heavy weapons to supply, other countries have those, but collectively, we will support them”.

Portugal fully supports including oil in sanctions against Russia

The minister also pledged Portugal’s support on the need, identified by the EU, to include oil in the sanctions against Russia.

The measure is currently in the technical study phase, he said, recalling that “a new package of sanctions was approved last Friday, covering coal”, and also covering “other new items, new individuals and new entities”.

“We know that this is not the end of the story”, he admitted. “We know there will be more sanctions. There will have to be an intensification of sanctions in the coming weeks, and we also know that this intensification will pass through oil, and Portugal is aligned with this movement, which has technical dimensions that are still under discussion, but Portugal will support it,” he said.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com