Ukrainian president’s special envoy says country “feels” Portuguese are on its side
Around 38,000 Ukrainians have already applied to Portugal for temporary protection, secretary of state for European affairs, Tiago Antunes, said yesterday – expressing the country’s “full support” for Ukraine on all levels.
Antunes was speaking at a meeting in Lisbon with Igor Zhovka, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s special envoy who arrived for the first stage in the ‘technical help’ pledged by PM António Costa towards Ukraine’s accession to EU membership.
He stressed that “Portugal has not only actively participated in European deliberations but has also been an actor in the approval of all these dimensions of support, whether in the approval of stronger sanctions against Russia or in the granting of aid and support to Ukraine”.
When it comes to support, he highlighted “the reception of Ukrainian refugees who have fled the conflict” and who already number “around thirty-eight thousand” – more than doubling the Ukrainian community in Portugal – and other concessions of support, medical, civil protection, humanitarian, in addition to the financial support announced by the prime minister, António Costa, during a visit to Kyiv in May.
Igor Zhovka responded that “the government, the president and the Ukrainian people feel” that the Portuguese are on their side.
But he used the moment to stress how much more support is needed, saying that the latest package of EU sanctions against Russia – the 6th – is “definitely insufficient”, in as much as every day Russia continues to receive money for natural gas, and this is then used to bolster military hardware.
“Time is running out on the battlefield,” he warned, just as Russia’s total control of the Donbass region is looming.
There is no question of Ukraine resuming negotiations with Russia until a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the country are discussed, Zhovka added – highlighting the impasse of this invasion.
“At the beginning of the conflict, Russia did not even listen to Ukraine’s position in terms of negotiations, only imposing ultimatums,” he said. “Now there is nothing to talk about with any official or member of the Russian delegation.”
Igor Zhovkva “also insisted that Ukraine will not accept any other commitment from Brussels than candidate status for EU membership, and that it expects a response along these lines as early as this month”, writes Lusa.
“We want to be part of Europe’s future”, he told reporters. “Not part of Russia’s past”.
Source material: Lusa