…as Ukraine embassy in Lisbon describes citizens’ own generosity
The head of Portuguese diplomacy, João Gomes Cravinho, has vowed that Portugal will continue to support and show solidarity with Ukraine until authorities in Kyiv “regain full sovereignty of the country”, under heavy bombardment by Russia for the last 10 months.
Gomes Cravinho was speaking to Lusa news agency at the end of the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the ministries of foreign affairs of Portugal and Poland on humanitarian aid and assistance to Ukraine, worth €30 million, aimed at supporting the Polish budget to help around 3.5 million Ukrainian refugees on Polish soil.
“Portugal will continue to support and show solidarity with Ukraine until the Kyiv authorities fully regain territorial sovereignty,” he said, noting that Portugal has acted on four fronts in support of the conflict triggered by the Russian invasion on February 24.
“We have the political aspect – with institutional and formal support in international organisations; the military – we have already sent hundreds of tons in military equipment; the financial – worth €250 million, announced during the visit of the (Portuguese prime minister, António Costa) to Kyiv; and the humanitarian – as we have already welcomed more than 55,000 Ukrainian refugees,” he said.
The minister recalled, in this context, the continuation of humanitarian efforts with the flight that arrived in Lisbon this week with 170 Ukrainian refugees on board and that, a few hours later, left for Moldova with 15-tons of basic necessities, like heaters, generators, hygiene products, etc., to be transported by humanitarian trucks to Kyiv, where they will be distributed by the population “according to identified needs”.
“Portugal is one of the countries whose population consistently supports the refugee crisis in Ukraine by more than 90%. By giving all this support, we are demonstrating the solidarity of the Portuguese population,” he stressed.
The memorandum of understanding was signed by the Portuguese secretary of state for foreign affairs, Francisco André, and the Polish ambassador in Lisbon, Joanna Pilecka, who also thanked the efforts of Portugal in supporting Polish authorities.
“They are two countries far from each other, but close in solidarity and humanitarian support in the tragic Russian invasion of Ukraine. (The €30 million) is a generous offer to Poland that, for us, has three dimensions: support of the 3.5 million Ukrainian refugees in Poland, support for all the logistical aspects of aid to Ukraine and also as a donor,” she said.
“But what I would like to underline is that for us, Poland, where 77% of the population supports the refugees from this tragedy, this gesture from Portugal has not only a symbolic value, but also the determination to help. I want to leave here the gratitude of my country”, he added.
Also speaking to Lusa, the Chargé d’Affaires of the Ukrainian Embassy in Lisbon, Volodymyr Kazlov, showed his “gratitude” for the support that Portugal has given “after the Russian invasion”, highlighting the “high” number of Ukrainian refugees that have taken up the offer of temporary protection here.
Kazlov stressed he hopes the war will end in 2023, with Ukraine’s victory in 2023 – and he welcomed the fact that Portugal and Poland are “friends” of the country, stressing he hopes that next year too, Ukraine can become a member of the European Union (EU).
“I would like to thank all the Portuguese people for all the help in this difficult situation. Many Portuguese deliver many goods to the embassy , even generators, because they know about the dramatic energy situation in Ukraine. Therefore, the memorandum of understanding bears witness to our friendship with the two countries and I hope that in 2023, when we win the war, we can give an even greater boost to that friendship,” he said.